The role of cats and dogs in asthma and allergy--a systematic review.

Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany.
International journal of hygiene and environmental health (Impact Factor: 3.28). 01/2010; 213(1):1-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2009.12.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Studies have reported contradictory effects of cat and dog exposure on allergy, resulting in inconsistent recommendations on animal avoidance. We conducted a systematic review of observational studies published in English from 2000 to January 2009. It shows in this review that the reported exposure-response relationships are contradictory. A total of 17 and 13 birth cohort studies on cat and dog exposure, respectively, are included in the review. Most of the birth cohort studies found that cat or dog exposure in early life had no effect on the development of asthma or wheezing symptoms and dog exposure during infancy was found to protect children from developing sensitization against aeroallergens. A total of 7 and 6 prospective studies in school-age children or adults on cat and dog exposure, respectively, are included in this review and most of these studies suggested an inverse association between cat exposure and asthma and wheezing symptoms. As for cross-sectional studies, 26 and 21 studies on cat and dog exposure, respectively, are included in this review, which cover a broad range of age groups and geographical areas, and reported inconsistent results. The evidence summarised in this systematic review needs to be interpreted with caution, the inconsistent study results may be due to study design, exposure assessment, and avoidance measure. The exposure-response relationships may also alter in geographical areas where the community prevalence of cats and dogs are significantly different. However, as the evidence of the effects of pet keeping on subsequent development of asthma or allergic diseases presented in this review are not overwhelmingly strong, the decision of whether to keep a cat or a dog in the family should be based on arguments other than the concern of developing asthma and allergy.

  • Source
    American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reduction in asthma incidences and mortality, as well as improved quality of life, can be achieved via a wide use of prevention methods. A number of randomized cohort studies demonstrated the effectiveness of such management and the need for multiple treatments. Here, we evaluate whether asthma awareness influences the lifestyle and the use of prevention, as well as the effects of age, sex, economic status, and education on the use of prophylaxis. A total of 18,617 (53.8% female; 24.2% 6-7 years old, 25.4% 13-14 years old, and 50.4% 20-44 years old) were selected by a stratified cluster sampling method in eight cities and one rural area, each over 150,000 citizens. The sample was selected based on the methods and questionnaires of International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood and European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Patients aware of asthma significantly less often (p < 0.05) reported owning asthma-inducing items and significantly more often reported behaviors minimizing the number of allergens (p < 0.05). Patients aware of asthma took all actions reducing their exposure to in-house allergens significantly more often than the healthy (p < 0.05) and individuals with symptoms only (p < 0.05). Allergy prevention was used more often in children (p < 0.0005), responders aware of diseases (p < 0.05), higher levels of education (p < 0.05), and higher household income (p < 0.05). The most common type of prophylaxis used is prophylactic actions, which are undertaken by patients diagnosed with asthma and who are aware of their disease. Adults do not use preventive measures as often as children or adolescents do. Higher rates of prevention-oriented behavior were observed in groups characterized by higher levels of education and higher household income.
    Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 03/2015; 36(2):14-22. DOI:10.2500/aap.2015.36.3822 · 3.35 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Asthma has become the most common, childhood chronic disease in the industrialized world, and it is also increasing in developing regions. There are huge differences in the prevalence of childhood asthma across countries and continents, and there is no doubt that the prevalence of asthma was strongly increasing during the past decades worldwide. Asthma, as a complex disease, has a broad spectrum of potential determinants ranging from genetics to life style and environmental factors. Environmental factors are likely to be important in explaining the regional differences and the overall increasing trend towards asthma's prevalence. Among the environmental conditions, indoor factors are of particular interest because people spend more than 80% of their time indoors globally. Increasing prices for oil, gas and other sources of primary energy will further lead to better insulation of homes, and ultimately to reduced energy costs. This will decrease air exchange rates and will lower the dilution of indoor air mass with ambient air. Indoor air quality and potential health effects will therefore be an area for future research and for gaining a better understanding of asthma epidemics. This strategic review will summarize the current knowledge of the effects of a broad spectrum of indoor factors on the development of asthma in childhood in Western countries based on epidemiological studies. In conclusion, several epidemiological studies point out, that indoor factors might cause asthma in childhood. Stronger and more consistent findings are seen when exposure to these indoor factors is assessed by surrogates for the source of the actual toxicants. Measurement-based exposure assessments for several indoor factors are less common than using surrogates of the exposure. These studies, however, mainly showed heterogeneous results. The most consistent finding for an induction of asthma in childhood is related to exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, to living in homes close to busy roads, and in damp homes where are visible moulds at home. The causing agents of the increased risk of living in damp homes remained uncertain and needs clarification. Exposure to pet-derived allergens and house dust mites are very commonly investigated and thought to be related to asthma onset. The epidemiological evidence is not sufficient to recommend avoidance measures against pet and dust mites as preventive activities against allergies. More research is also needed to clarify the potential risk for exposure to volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds due to renovation activities, phthalates and chlorine chemicals due to cleaning.
    International journal of hygiene and environmental health 01/2011; 214(1):1-25. DOI:10.1016/j.ijheh.2010.08.009 · 3.28 Impact Factor