When deciding whether to add a pet cat to the family, one of the top considerations is whether any family members are allergic. If you decide to get a pet because you think that no one in the family is allergic, take heed of a new study. According toCBS News,a new study that adults are twice as likely to develop pet allergies if they have a cat in the home.

The study, published in the December 12 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, involved nearly 6,300 adults who did not have an allergy to cats. Over the nine-year period studied, 231 people had developed allergies to cats. The researchers determined that people who got a cat during the study were 1.8 times more likely to become allergic than adults who did not have a cat in their home.

The study authors conclude “Acquiring a cat in adulthood nearly doubles the risk of onset of specific sensitization to cat.” Yet study participants who had owned cats since childhood seemed to be protected from developing an allergy to cats. The study has important implications for other allergies, such as food allergies, because it relates to the debate of whether exposure to allergens positively or negatively impacts the risk of developing an allergy.

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