Children who live with pets when they are infants are less likely to develop and other later in childhood, a Swedish study found.

The study sought to learn about the possible benefits of germ exposure to infants living with pets in their home.

For the study, the researchers from the included 1,029 children who were either seven or eight years old.

In the first experiment, findings, published on the open access site, 'PLOS ONE', the researchers found that the incidence of (which in this study included asthma, eczema, hay fever and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis) was 49 per cent for children who had not been exposed to pets as infants.

The number fell to 43 per cent for children who had lived with a single pet as an and to 24 per cent for children who had lived with three pets.

In another experiment, which included 249 children, it showed that the rate for children growing up without a pet was 48 per cent, 35 per cent for children with one pet and just 21 per cent for children who had grown up with multiple pets.

Taken together, the two datasets showed that the more exposure infants have to pets, the less likely they are to develop later in life, the team concluded.



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