Allergies affect approximately 20% of all adults and children and it is believed that allergies and sever allergic reactions are the sixth largest cause of chronic illness in the developed world.
Currently there are insufficient studies in the developing world to make such an accurate statement of the affected proportion of the population however it is believed that the same percentage (above) could be used to describe the allergic reactions in the developing world.
So what exactly is an allergy or allergic reaction? To quote a medical text “Allergies represent immune system’s inappropriate response to a foreign substance. “
When a person is exposed to what is usually considered to be a completely harmless substance like pollen for instance the person suffers a reaction, which is caused by the immune system reacting as though the substance in this case pollen was harmful to the body. The substance or substances that trigger allergies are called allergens.
Most allergies in both humans and animals happen either because the person or animal suffering the allergic reaction has inherited the allergy through his or her genes, the environment can also trigger an allergic reaction through pollen, human/animal danders, dust, in addition recent studies have identified pollution from aeroplanes and cars (in particular diesel engined vehicles such as buses and taxis) as a cause of hyper allergenic reactions in the population of large busy cities in the developed world.
Leading on from the latest research (above) a study was undertaken in Mumbai in 2007 (T. H. Atkins, University College Burke Cambs.) this study revealed that the even the developing world has the same levels of allergic reaction to diesel pollution, incidentally the study also found a new and exciting form of allergic reaction to the open sewers of Mumbai, this allergic reaction presented itself in new born children who exhibit shortness of breath and breathing difficulties and in turn has increased the infant mortality by as much as 42%.
Agriculture in one form or another also accounts for a large proportion of allergic reactions, chemical sprays in all their forms cause serious allergic reactions.
One further cause of allergic reactions is when the body is exposed to allergens at particular critical times when the body’s defences might be at a low point or may indeed be weak this could be during pregnancy or when people have viral infections.
When people encounter an allergen they experience symptoms of what the medical profession describe as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) these symptoms include itching, sneezing, congestion, a running nose and eyes.
These allergic rhinitis symptoms might also be associated with other asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing and coughing, although it is possible that they may not.
The following list defines the most common causes of allergic rhinitis symptoms:
Pollen comprises microscopic particles that are released in to the air by all agricultural crops, grass, trees and flowers.
Bed and Dust Mites
Bed and Dust Mites are tiny parasitic insects that live on humans and their bed linen they are also found in the dust caused by humans everyday.
Molds in general are parasitic microscopic fungi with spores that are air borne just like pollen.
The proteins secreted by sweat glands in a humans and animal’s skin are shed in dander (just think of Dandruff).