The suggestion that parents of children suffering from asthma take dramatic measures to remove a pet from their home may be unintentionally making matters worse ["Breathing Lessons," Health, Aug. 31].

Although there are many ways to alleviate symptoms, including providing a pet-free bedroom, it is unfortunate that putting a pet outside or finding a new home for a pet is suggested across the spec- trum of symptoms from very mild to life-threatening. A child with minor symptoms may be adversely affected by losing a beloved friend unnecessarily.

In addition, pets who live outdoors are exposed to many dangers, which in turn may expose family members to other risks. It is also unkind to a pet who has spent the majority of his or her life in- doors to be suddenly made to live outside and deprived of human companionship.

Having allergies doesn't have to mean giving up a pet. In fact, recent studies have shown that many children who are exposed to pets at a young age may be less likely to develop allergies to pets if their mother is not asthmatic.

For more information on dealing with pet allergies, visit our Web site at


Issues Specialist, Companion Animals

The Humane Society of the United States