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Lung function at age 3 years: effect of pet ownership and exposure to indoor allergens

By L. A. Lowe, A. Woodcock, C. S. Murray, J. Morris, A. Simpson, A. Custovic

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Objective  To investigate the effect of pet ownership and exposure to indoor allergens on lung function in 3-year-old children.

Design  Birth cohort study.

Setting  Community.

Participants  Children recruited prenatally and followed prospectively to age 3 years.

Main Outcome Measures  Specific airway resistance (sRaw) (measured with body plethysmograph) at age 3 years; skin-prick tests; data on cat and dog ownership collected prospectively; allergen levels measured in dust collected from homes (high exposure defined as mite allergens >2 μg/g in mattress, and dog >10 μg/g and cat >8 μg/g allergens on the living room floor).

Results  There was no effect of cat or dog ownership at birth or age 3 years on lung function, and no association between lung function and mite, dog, or cat allergen exposure. Sensitized children exposed to high levels of sensitizing allergen had significantly poorer lung function (n = 49, sRaw kiloPascal per second [kPa/s]; geometric mean [GM], 1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13-1.28) than children who were not sensitized and not exposed (n = 114; GM, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.04-1.12); not sensitized, but exposed (n = 282; GM, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.05-1.10); or sensitized and not exposed (n = 53; GM, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.06-1.18; P = .005). In a multivariate model, independent significant associates of lung function were maternal and paternal asthma, and the combination of sensitization and exposure to sensitizing allergen, with significant interaction between them. Lung function was substantially worse in sensitized and highly exposed children with both asthmatic parents (GM, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.68-2.97), compared with those with neither (GM, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.04-1.16) or just 1 of these features.

Conclusions  Pet ownership, sensitization without exposure, or exposure in nonsensitized individuals have no effect on lung function. However, the combination of specific sensitization and exposure to sensitizing allergen is associated with significantly poorer lung function in early life.

Date 2004
Publication Title Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine
Volume 158
Issue 10
Pages 996-1001
ISBN/ISSN 1072-4710 (Print)1072-4710 (Linking)
DOI 10.1001/archpedi.158.10.996
Language English
Author Address North West Lung Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Southmoor Road, Manchester M23 9LT, UK.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Air
  2. Allergy
  3. Analysis
  4. Cats
  5. Cohort Studies
  6. Confidence
  7. Dogs
  8. Dust
  9. Environment
  10. Females
  11. Follow-up studies
  12. Humans
  13. Hyperactivity
  14. Immunization
  15. Males
  16. Mites
  17. open access
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. preschools
  20. Prevalence
  21. Probability
  22. Prospective Studies
  23. respiratory system
  24. Risk Assessment
  25. tests
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed