In children, pet-sitting has been shown to increase the risk of respiratory symptoms, particularly asthma and asthma-related symptoms. A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the link between pets and respiratory health among schoolchildren in Zhongshan, a city in southern China. The results of the analysis were published in the Journal of Asthma.
The researchers sought to determine whether pet exposure was related to the development of asthma and asthma-related symptoms, and to assess the combined effect of pet-sitting and household environmental factors. Questionnaires were used to select qualified children for analysis. An internationally standardized questionnaire from the American Thoracic Society was adopted and revised based on actual situations observed in China.
A total of 11,611 Chinese schoolchildren were randomly recruited to participate in the current study, including 6087 boys and 5524 girls. Between March and July 2016, investigators obtained information on respiratory symptoms, disease history, pet status, and other associated risk factors from the recruited children. Demographic information about the children was collected, including gender, age, parental education, and family income.
The results of the study showed that keeping a cat in a child’s home significantly increases their risk of persistent cough (odds ratio [OR], 1.77; 95% CI, 1.03-3.05; P=0.04). Raising poultry at home increased the risk of current asthma and allergic rhinitis (OR, 3.87; 95% CI, 1.08-13.92; P=0.04 and OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.01-3.37; P=0.05, respectively). Additionally, sleeping with a pet increases the risk of persistent phlegm, doctor-diagnosed asthma, and current asthma (OR, 5.04; 95% CI, 1.05-24.28; P= 0.04 vs OR, 3.35, 95% CI, 1.31-8.57, P=0.01 vs OR, 4.94, 95% CI, 1.05-23.31, P= 0.04, respectively).
Results of the current study also showed that children who are exposed to both cat farming and mold had higher rates of doctor-diagnosed asthma than those exposed to cat farming. cats or mold only.
The researchers concluded that further studies on the interactions between asthma risk factors and asthma-related symptoms are warranted, to help elucidate the development of asthma in children.
Source: pulmonology consultant