A new study from Washington University which examined 442 inner-city children and their risk for asthma when exposed to different allergens, suggests that living with cats, mice and cockroaches may help combat asthma in young children, according to AJC.com.

The children studied live in St. Louis, Baltimore, Boston and New York City. Findings — taken through analysis of dust located inside homes — suggest that those around higher levels of allergens as an infant were less likely to develop childhood asthma.

Another facet of the study examined umbilical cord blood. These findings suggest that children exposed to tobacco smoke in utero were more at risk for asthma, according to AJC.com. Higher rates were also linked to mothers who reported being stressed and/or depressed.

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