From The Week:
Living with a dog or a cat may bolster babies’ health. After surveying the parents of nearly 400 infants over the course of a year, Finnish researchers found that children who lived with a dog were 31 percent more likely to be in good health than those who didn’t. They are also 44 percent less likely to have developed an ear infection and 20 percent less likely to have needed antibiotics. Owning a cat offered similar, though less significant, benefits. The more times pets spent outdoors, the healthier the babies that lived with them were, which suggests that dogs and other pets may track in dirt and germs from outdoors that “stimulate the immune system” of babies “to do a better job of fighting off infection,” Danelle Fisher, a pediatrician at St. John’s Health Center, tells the Los Angeles Times. Previous studies have shown that babies who are exposed to pets and dust are less likely to develop allergies and asthma.
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