As a new pet owner (meet Jaxon!) I immediately noticed how much “overlap” there is with dog life and my life. Licks, kisses, and paws on you that have been…God knows where. And while I wouldn’t trade it for the world, the infectious-conscious doctor in me wonders if this is a good thing or bad thing. All our lives we are taught bacteria are bad, and nowhere is that driven home more than in medical training. Worms, parasites, zoonistic intermediary hosts? Yup.
Turns out, having a pet decreases your risk of certain medical issues, particularly autoimmune disease and allergy. This reinforces the theory that our immune system is unstimulated in the current clean, antimicrobial hand cleanser world we live in. This, in turn, leads to an immune system looking for trouble where none exists, ramping up and leading to allergies and even autoimmune diseases of various kinds.