Children in Southern China exposed to both cats and mold in the home had greater self-reported asthma diagnosis, according to a study in the Journal of Asthma. In addition, researchers report that pet-keeping in the home increased the risk of respiratory symptoms in children.

According to results:

  • Cat-keeping at home increases the risk of persistent cough (OR, 1.77; 95%CI, 1.03-3.05);
  • poultry-keeping at home increases the risk of current asthma (OR, 3.87; 95%CI, 1.08-13.92) and allergic rhinitis (OR, 1.84; 95%CI, 1.01-3.37);
  • sleeping with pets increases the risk of persistent phlegm (OR, 5.04; 95%CI, 1.05-24.28), doctor-diagnosed asthma (OR, 3.35; 95%CI, 1.31-8.57) and current asthma (OR, 4.94; 95%CI, 1.05-23.31) in children.

The researchers sought to explore whether domestic pet exposure was related to the development of asthma and asthma-related symptoms, and to evaluate the combined effect of pet-keeping and domestic environmental factors. Questionnaires were used to select those children who qualified for the analysis. An internationally standardized questionnaire from the American Thoracic Society was adopted and revised based on actual situations observed in China.

A total of 11,611 Chinese schoolchildren were randomly recruited for participation in the current study, including 6087 boys and 5524 girls. Between March and July 2016, the investigators obtained information on respiratory symptoms, disease history, the status of domestic pets, and other related risk factors from the recruited children. Demographic information from the children was collected, including gender, age, education of the parents, and income of the family.

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