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Are We Creating An Allergy Epidemic?


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In recent years there has been been rumours of an allergy epidemic and a huge increase in people presenting with allergies, particularly in western countries like Britain, Canada, and Australia. This increase has not been mirrored in eastern countries like China and India.

This trend highlights the importance our environment plays in creating allergies. Allergy expert, Dr Peter Saul, suggests the environmental changes that may contribute to the rising number of people suffering with allergies include:

• People have become cleaner
• Houses have less drafts which means less air is moving through homes
• An increase in the number of soft furnishings present in the home
• Exposure to a greater number of chemicals in household products and foods
• Increase in chemicals in the atmosphere

Dr Peter Saul uses the example of a recent research paper that suggests that diesel particulates released from diesel engines on their own do not cause harm in the atmosphere, however when they combine with allergens they can trigger allergic reactions.

Another factor that needs to be considered when discussing the rising number of allergy sufferers is the increasing knowledge physicians now have on allergens and their symptoms. This in itself has led to a greater number of people diagnosed with allergies.

Dr Peter Saul MB ChB DRCOG DCH MRCGP

Allergy Specialist

 

10025 Published May 2009

Revised November 2012

Review Scheduled November 2013

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