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A team of Swedish researchers have suggested that early-life environment factors such as exposure to dogs and frequent respiratory infections could increase risk of snoring later in life. However, they say it is not time yet to give up the idea of childhood pets since more research is needed to confirm these suggestions.

These Nordic researchers have questioned both men and women aged 25 to 54, all residents of Nordic countries and got responses from 15,556 of them.

Study participants were asked about their childhood, whether they had pets, whether they were hospitalized for respiratory infections before age 2, and whether they had recurrent ear infections as well as their family size, parental education, and mothers' ages. Notes were also taken about the respondents sleeping habits. Eighteen percent of the polled people responded they currently snored, loud and disturbingly at least three nights per week.

The researchers found that four childhood factors were independently associated with later snoring:

• Being hospitalized for a respiratory infection before age 2 boosted the risk of later snoring by 1.27 times.

• Suffering from recurrent ear infections as a child raised the risk 1.18 times.

• Growing up in a family with more than five members increased risk 1.04 times.

• Exposure to a dog in the home as a newborn boosted risk of later snoring 1.26 times

However, the question why the exposures associated with snoring up the risk has not been answered yet.

It could be that these factors such as dogs’ presence and infections could be increasing the size of the tonsils and in turn boosting the risk of snoring.

Some sleep experts disagree stating that there are two known major risk factors for snoring. They are obesity and the individual’s throat structure.

Others, on the other hand, say that dog and infection exposure risks make sense since children with severe airway episodes and recurrent ear infections often live in large families where infection is common. These frequent infections as well as having a dog could lead to immunologic response in the airways leading to tonsillar and or adenoid enlargement and narrowing of the airway leading to snoring.

More research will be done before advising parents to take the dogs away.

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I think that having a dog as a kid is a great option
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