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Pet exposure may reduce allergies

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12:54pm, September 3, 2002

Parents concerned about allergies may balk at the idea of keeping pets around children. However, new research suggests that babies exposed to cats and dogs are less likely than others to develop the symptoms–itching, sneezing, and wheezing–that make up an allergic reaction in later life.

"Traditionally, allergists recommend that expectant parents who . . . want to reduce the risk for their children not have a pet," says epidemiologist Christine Cole Johnson of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

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