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Science Says Time Spent With Dogs At An Early Age Reduces Chance Of Asthma

Science Says Time Spent With Dogs At An Early Age Reduces Chance Of Asthma

Some people abandon their dogs before their kids are born so as to avoid pet allergies. While a research has been done to prove the opposite.

According to a team of Swedish scientists, children who grow up around dogs will have a 15 percent less chance of developing asthma later in life. This is compared to children who did not have the company of these furry friends.

Research Background

The team used the national register to study the association between children’s contact with dogs and the children’s future respiratory development. They studied the data of over a million children in Sweden using nine different national registers. The new data included two previously unused dog ownership registers.

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This study is perfectly tailored to Sweden because every citizen of the country is assigned a unique number associated with their name and identity. Whether they go to the doctor or order a prescription, this number is recorded, and then disassociated with the data for privacy protection.

The Swedish government even monitors dog ownership. Every family that owns a dog has registered their pet with the government since 2001.

Results

With all of this information, scientists were able to better collate the number of dog owners who then went on to suffer from asthma.

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While this study demonstrates figures, such raw data does not give people all of the information they need regarding the prevention of respiratory diseases. It demonstrates the association between asthma and pet ownership. However, it does not show why people with dogs may suffer less from asthma.

This study demonstrates correlation but it doesn’t provide a causal link between the two numbers. Previous studies have been done on this topic but none have garnered substantial results that led to conclusions. However, some studies have shown that living in a rural area or on a farm can reduce the likelihood of asthma by 50 percent.

Possible Reasons

The Hygiene Hypothesis

What this study does do is throw weight behind what is called the hygiene hypothesis.

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The hygiene hypothesis argues that children who are raised in sterile environments are more likely to have underdeveloped immune systems. As a result, they are more likely to suffer from allergies and auto-immune diseases later in life.

Hygienic areas and industrialized countries have led to fewer infectious diseases in the world. Simple hand washing techniques combined with other anti-bacterial or anti-viral products have generally prevented whole continents from being plagued by infectious, preventable diseases. This is great. But there are downsides to ultra-sterile environments.

Essentially, when your environment is too clean all the time, it is harder to fight off disease. In some cases, the immune system might even begin mistaking your body for disease. This is the underlying cause of most auto-immune disorders.

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Studies have suggested that the more children are exposed to germs, the healthier they are likely to be later in life. This does not mean that a family simply needs to throw out the antibacterial products. It means engaging in everyday life and picking up germs, like the germs that you pick up from dogs.

The Hygiene Hypothesis and Asthma

But preventing asthma is not as simple as picking up a new pooch. Asthma is not just caused by extensive cleanliness. There are certain factors that attack the body that can cause asthma, too.

Asthma can be caused by allergens or irritants in the air. It can also be caused by respiratory infections. Some people get specific genes from their parents that lead to the development of asthma.

Ultimately, asthma is not a black and white disease. Many people suffer from it differently. Because of this, and the lack of further information in the study, scientists cannot prove much with the current data. It is true that some people who had dogs as a child did not grow up to develop asthma. But until researchers find out why, it is best to depend on Fido for love, compassion and protection rather than for the prevention of respiratory diseases.

Featured photo credit: How can I recycle this via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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