Sometimes a bout of coughs and splutters turns into something a lot more sinister and permanent. Stats suggest as many as 10 % of children develop asthma.
Now part of the story is genetic, but genetics is what makes you vulnerable, but it is not what pulls the trigger.
One of the triggers for asthma is an infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV for short).
RSV flipping the switch
So can you do to stop an RSV infection ?
The obvious advice……….. avoid a chance encounter with a respiratory syncytial virus.
Not so easy – the virus does the rounds. Infections with the virus are quite common in little ones.
What happens during the course of the infection is key. A mild infection is an inconvenience, a severe infection is the asthma trigger.
Mousing around with RSV
Now respiratory syncytial virus can give mice whizzes and coughs, making mice a good model to figure out what helps or harms human infants, in their battle against RSV.
Researchers from the San Francisco campus of the University of California exposed mice to RSV under several different scenarios.
In one scenario – the mice were fed house dust from homes that have a dog, before being exposed to the RSV. In another scenario – the mice were not fed house dust but were exposed to RSV. A third group of mice missed the dust and the RSV infection, and served as the control.
I know, I know – YUK !
Dust for dinner ?
Don’t worry, the researchers still fed them the usual mouse pellets too. It might not be something you want to contemplate, but you’re probably eating dust accidently too .
Dog dander delighted the lungs
RSV never managed to wreak havoc in the lungs of the mice being exposed to dog dander.
The mice did not show any signs of inflammation or increased mucous production, typical of an RSV infection.
Curious, the research team looked to see what was DIFFERENT. They most notable difference between the mice was the microbes living in their guts – dog laced dust, changed who was who in the zoo.
Of mice and men
So what ? Protecting mice from the sniffles is not quite the same thing as protecting humans. Or is it ?
Several studies have found owing a pet seems to provide protection against childhood asthma.
Doggie dust is different
This study suggests that the dog dander is what does it.
Doggie dust is different from “normal” house dust – not because it has all those dog hairs and extra mud (thanks to the muddy paws), but because the bacterial communities i.e. the microbiome is DIFFERENT.
Different in a good way.
Got asthma in the genes ?
If your family has a predisposition to asthma, ditch the anti-septic soaps and things and GET A DOG. If you’re a business then hire a dog.
It sounds counter intuitive….
DOGS = DIRT
And dirt is bad !
Not so fast – the RIGHT dirt is what you need to cultivate the RIGHT microflora.
The right bugs modulate the immune response and protect against asthmagenic pathogens by keeping those airways open.
|Pillow talk can lead to nightmares||Breathe easier by getting vitamin D to push the asthma pump||Could we all be zombies doing the bidding of our resident bacteria ?|
Interested in learning more ?
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…