can newborns be allergic to cats

Pet allergies can develop during babyhood, but they typically don’t cause symptoms before your baby turns 1 or even 2. The same is true for seasonal allergies to different types of pollens. Babies can have allergies to foods or have eczema (an allergy-related skin condition) in their first year.

Compared to children who were not exposed to these allergens soon after birth, infants who grew up in homes with cockroach droppings, mouse and cat dander, and other allergens in the first year of life had reduced rates of wheezing at age 3. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that the protective effect was additive, with infants exposed to all three allergens having a lower risk than those exposed to just one, two, or none at all. In particular, children who did not have exposure to these allergens were three times more likely to experience wheezing (51 percent) than children who lived in homes with all three allergens present during their first year of life (17 percent).

Infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to results of a study conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other institutions. Previous research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates, a phenomenon attributed to their regular exposure to microorganisms present in farm soil. Other studies, however, have found increased asthma risk among inner-city dwellers exposed to high levels of roach and mouse allergens and pollutants. The new study confirms that children who live in such homes do have higher overall allergy and asthma rates but adds a surprising twist: Those who encounter such substances before their first birthdays seem to benefit rather than suffer from them. Importantly, the protective effects of both allergen and bacterial exposure were not seen if a child’s first encounter with these substances occurred after age 1, the research found.

467 newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York, and St. Louis were included in the study. Louis whose health was tracked over three years. The researchers conducted physical examinations, periodic blood and skin-prick tests, parental questionnaires, and home visits to gauge the amounts and kinds of allergens the infants were exposed to. They also tested the infants for allergies and wheezing. Furthermore, the investigators gathered and examined the bacterial composition of dust obtained from the residences of 104 out of the 467 infants included in the investigation.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH), with grant numbers NO1-AI-25496, NO1-AI-25482, HHSN272200900052C, and HHSN272201000052I. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at NIH, grants RR00052, M01RR, 00533, 1UL1RR025771, M01RR00071, 1UL1RR024156, and 5UL1RR024992-02, provided additional support.

The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was among the other organizations engaged in the study. Louis, New York’s Columbia University Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, California’s University of San Francisco, and Wisconsin’s University of Madison

How Do Cat Allergies Work?

It’s a frequent misperception that a cat’s fur causes allergies in cats. The proteins that are present in cats’ sweat, urine, feces, and saliva are the real offender. For this reason, short-haired cats cause allergic reactions in people just as much as long-haired cats do.

Babies have heightened immune systems. Their bodies are continuously scanning the environment for substances that could be harmful, and they have a tendency to overreact to perceived threats.

Your baby’s immune system may mistakenly perceive these cat proteins as dangerous if they have a cat allergy. Their system will react by releasing antibodies. These shield your child, but in the process they may cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, and lungs of your child.

FAQ

Is it safe to have cats around newborns?

Babies, children and cats should never be left together unsupervised. It is important an adult supervises them at all times. The main health and safety risks to your child are: risks to their breathing.

Can cat hair affect newborns?

Please rest assured that pets or their fur don’t cause growth defects in babies. On the contrary, children living with pets develop better immune systems, lead healthier lives, and have a best friend growing up who will never leave their side.

Can newborns get allergies?

Infants and children can have seasonal allergies. However, allergies tend to develop between the ages of 3 and 5 years and are rare in babies. Seasonal allergies occur because the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air during certain times of the year, such as spring, summer, or fall.

Will my unborn baby be allergic to cats?

There is no way of knowing if your baby will be allergic to your cat but some studies suggest that babies exposed to cats and other pets before their first birthday are less likely to suffer from allergies to fur and dander. You can read more about this study here.