RESEARCH PAPER
Extent of protective or allergy-inducing effects in cats and dogs
 
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1
Department of Environmental Hazard Prevention and Allergology, Faculty of Health Science, Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
2
Chair of Applied Mathematics, Faculty of Applied Informatics and Mathematics, University of Life Sciences (SGGW), Warsaw, Poland
 
KEYWORDS:
TOPICS:
ABSTRACT:
Objective:
The study aimed to assess the effect of fur-bearing pets, including cats and dogs, on the health of individuals with allergic conditions.

Material and methods:
The study group comprised 18,617 individuals (16,562 from urban and 2,055 from rural areas). The tool used in the study was the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) and International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study questionnaire, adapted to European conditions (Middle and Eastern Europe) and used as part of the study Implementation of a System for the Prevention and Early Detection of Allergic Diseases in Poland.

Results:
The factors determining the keeping of fur-bearing pets in a household included a larger living space and the number of cigarettes smoked, which were observed especially in urban settings. The keeping of fur-bearing animals in rural areas acts preventively against allergic conditions, while in urban areas, these animals were a factor clearly aggravating symptoms of bronchial asthma – the risk of cough (OR 1.921; CI 10–3.36; P=0.02) and wheezing (OR 2.60; CI 1.22–5.54; P=0.01).

Conclusions:
Fur-bearing animals kept in rural settings exhibit preventive effects on the development of allergies; whereas in urban areas they exacerbate allergic symptoms, especially the symptoms of bronchial asthma.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Edyta Krzych-Fałta   
Zakład Profialktyki Zagrożeń Środowiskowych i Alergologii, Unit of Environmental Hazard Prevention and Allergology, Faculty of Health Science, Medical University of Warsaw, Banacha 1a, 02-097 Warszawa, 02-097 Warszawa, Poland
 
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