Allergies impact quality of life

The limitations resulting from the body’s reaction to allergens are multifaceted but share one common theme: the patient’s quality of life is no longer what it used to be. People who are sensitised to aeroallergens develop allergic rhinitis with symptoms such as a runny nose, itching, watery eyes, respiratory congestion and fatigue. A possibly less well-known and often underestimated consequence, is that allergies put people at a greater risk of developing asthma.

Allergen avoidance

Allergen avoidance is an essential step in managing allergies.

Allergen avoidance involves taking adequate measures to reduce the allergenic agent from the environment in which we live and limit contact with it. This is the first step towards improving the symptoms of allergy.

  • Food and medication allergies

Avoiding food or using medication which contain substances responsible for an allergic reaction. This seems obvious, however, identifying the allergens “hidden” in food or medication requires a high level of attention.

  • Contact allergies

Avoidance means abstaining from skin contact with an allergen.

  • House dust mite allergies

Our home environment must be treated to reduce the development of house dust mites: reduce the room temperature to 18-19° maximum, decrease humidity, air your house regularly, wash linen and duvets at 60°, clean and vacuum upholstery, curtains bedding frequently, dust and vacuum on a regular basis, etc.

  • Pollen allergies

Avoiding allergy to pollen is more complicated since pollen is present everywhere in our environment. Some measures can help reduce exposure to pollen: wash your hair and shower after having been outside, prefer air conditioning to open windows during the pollen season, etc.

  • Allergies to pets

Avoid contact with pets and pet stores, wash your hands after having been in contact with a pet, have your pet brushed and washed regularly by someone who doesn’t have allergies.

 

A rapidly increasing prevalence >

The increasing prevalence and intensity of allergies is a trend that has continued in the industrialised world for more than 60 years. Allergies currently affect over 13% of the world’s population, and an estimated 20 to 30% of the developed world. This trend is associated with urbanisation and changes in lifestyle, such as modern hygiene standards and reduced microbial exposure, as well as changing dietary habits. As these factors develop, allergies are expected to impact up to four billion people over the next three decades (source: Visiongain report 2018).

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