Families all over are talking about the quest to pick the right dog for President-elect Barack Obama's family. Because daughter Malia is allergic, there's a lot of talk about the Obamas getting a "hypoallergenic" dog.
But one local allergy expert preaches caution.
"The current talk about 'hypoallergenic' dogs ... can lead to negative outcomes if they perpetuate a myth and create unfounded expectations," Dr. Alvin Sanico, medical director of the Asthma Sinus Allergy Program at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, wrote to me.
"The fact is that all dogs and cats produce allergens that can be found in their dander and saliva, regardless of their breed and the length of their hair, or lack thereof," wrote Sanico, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. "Some may produce more - or less - allergens than others simply because of their individual nature. Based on this premise, it wouldn't really matter if the Obamas choose a 'mutt' over the various breeds that pet pundits now suggest."