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Does exposure to cats and dogs decrease the risk of allergic sensitization and disease?

      Sensitization to domestic pets, particularly cats and dogs, is an important risk factor for allergic diseases, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis.
      • Simpson A.
      • Custovic A.
      Pets and the development of allergic sensitization.
      Although cat and dog allergens are known asthma triggers and can influence disease severity among sensitized individuals,
      Committee on the Assessment of Asthma and Indoor Air
      Indoor biologic exposures. In: Clearing the air: asthma and indoor exposures.
      their role in the development of sensitization and allergic disease is less clear and has remained a subject of debate. Recent studies suggest that pet exposure, particularly in early childhood, can have beneficial effects and might actually prevent the development of atopic disorders.
      • Bufford J.D.
      • Gern J.E.
      Early exposure to pets: good or bad?.
      In this issue of the Journal, the longitudinal investigation by Mandhane et al
      • Mandhane P.
      • Sears M.
      • Poulton R.
      • Greene J.
      • Lou W.
      • Taylor D.
      • et al.
      Cats and dogs and the risk of atopy in childhood and adulthood.
      provides further evidence that exposure to the most common pets, cats and dogs, decreases the risk of allergic sensitization not only in children but also in young adults.

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