Ask yourself the baffling question as to why many farm families never seem to have trouble with things like asthma or allergies, and this new research might have the answer for you.
It’s true: owning a pet — like a cat or dog, especially at a young age — might actually prevent you from getting allergies, or even asthma, and other autoimmune conditions, later on down the road. The thought process behind it is actually surprisingly sound.
The fact is at an early age, we have a burgeoning immune system under development. The way it develops is by learning what it needs to focus on and what not to focus on. If by growing up we shelter ourselves in that “indoor microbiome” we call a home with air conditioning, vacuum cleaners, antibiotics, and antibacterial soap, we essentially rob our immune systems of the tools it needs to prepare us for the possibility that one day we’ll be surrounded by all those nasty germs and bacteria.
Having a dog — that rolls around in the dirt outside and licks its own heiny — ultimately will constantly keep you in contact with those nasty microbes, and here’s the thing:
It’ll help your immune system!
The truth is we’re constantly surrounded by micro-organisms throughout our life, and the reality is they’re often harmless. Bacteria, truthfully, can be harmless if our bodies respond (or don’t respond) in the correct way.
Allergies and asthma actually happens to be the way our immune systems “misfire,” thinking that there’s a problem when oftentimes there isn’t. This often is why many people who are sheltered, living the urban life, suddenly thrust themselves (often unwillingly) into the environment of a farm, or a zoo, or even camping, and suddenly can’t handle all the sneezing, sniffling, wheezing and other debilitating concerns that would otherwise be considered conditions or diseases.
Nope. That’s just your body, your immune system, thinking there’s a problem. When really there isn’t any problem. You’re just not accustomed to that environment at all.
The micro-organisms and bacteria we’re talking about, of course, exist in your gut. When you’re surrounded by all those microbes, your body responds and generates all you need right in your gut — and, surprise, surprise, you can get them from your pets!
Case in point: the next time your cat catches fleas, or your dog comes in with mud prints and starts sneezing all over your sofa…. Maybe you should thank them!
They’re giving you the weapons you need to survive out in the real natural world.