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Early Exposure to Pet and Pest Allergens Could Reduce Asthma Risk


More than 8 percent of children in the U.S. currently have asthma. Did you know early exposure to some allergens may reduce a child’s asthma risk?

The ongoing The Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma study (URECA) found a link between early exposure to pet and pest allergens and reduced asthma risk. More than 400 newborns were watched from birth until 7 years old. These children lived in four cities in the U.S. and had a high risk of developing asthma. At least one parent had to be diagnosed with asthma or allergies for the child to be in this study.

Experts looked at the effect of the following pest and pet allergens in the children’s homes:

  • Cockroaches
  • Mice
  • Cats
  • Dogs

The study found exposure to high levels of these four pest and pet allergens by 3 months old reduced the children’s risk of getting asthma.

But if asthma and allergies to pests and pets develop, you should help your child avoid these allergens as much as possible. You should also take steps to keep them under control in your home

These findings will help uncover information about how early-life factors affect a child’s health. It may also help experts to develop ways to prevent childhood asthma.

It is important to stay up-to-date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for support.


The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the largest and oldest nonprofit patient organization dedicated to asthma and allergies. Our online community includes public blogs. To post a comment, you will need to register or sign in.

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Comments (2)

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Thanks for the information. In many cases I have noticed people have allergies with these pests. Therefore it become mandatory to take preventive measure and eradicate them from the house asap! 

Caroline Ward

Last edited by Melissa G

I've heard that said many times.  But my parents had a dog for a few years before I was born and that did not keep me from being allergic to animals nor did it prevent me from developing asthma.  It wasn't until they removed the pet from the home did my allergies improve and the asthma attacks stopped happening.  At the age of 50 I unknlowlingly came in contact with a dog and had a bad asthma attack.  Since then my allergies have not calmed down. 

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