We're happy to present this article from our partner site Yahoo! Shine:
You may have heard that infants who grow up in households with pets can develop resistance to allergies — and a new study may have nailed down why.
Research suggests that exposure to all sorts of dirt and dander is beneficial in terms of exposing a child's immune system to, and strengthening it against, various allergens; as researcher Ganesa Wegienka put it, "Dirt is good." And children who live with — read: "roll around and play with" — dogs and cats are less likely to become allergic to those animals later in life, as long as the exposure occurred during the first year of life. The study appeared in the journal "Clinical & Experimental Allergy," and followed over 500 kids until age 18; teens who had lived with a cat during their first year had a 48 percent lower risk of developing a cat allergy. Meanwhile, teen boys who had lived with a dog were 50 percent less likely to develop dog allergies — but the rate was not the same for infant/teen girls who had lived with dogs, for reasons researchers still don't quite grasp. (They theorize that baby boys may play with dogs differently.) Keep reading for more details.