Common causes of allergies

Recent years have seen an increase in the types of allergies. According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO), today around 30 per cent of India's population suffers from one or more types of allergies. It is estimated that about 35 per cent of the population of the world suffers from an allergy of some kind. The most probable causes for this increase in the cases of allergies are:

Rapid urbanization: Bangalore is infamous as the 'allergy capital' of India, and the primary reason for this epithet is the rapid rate of urbanization that the city has been witnessing.

Increased vehicular traffic : The last two decades saw a meteoric rise in the production, and sale of two- and four-wheeled vehicles. Increase in the volume of particulate matter from vehicular emissions in the atmosphere positively contributed to the menace of allergies.

Plants and insects migration : Migrations of new varieties of plants and insects, and the cross-reaction of existing allergens with the new ones introduced through this migration, is another factor for increasing allergies.

Change in eating habits : With changes in work environment, the world is also experiencing a change in the food habits of people. An increase in the consumption of preservatives-laden food items is also responsible for sensitivity towards allergens.

Other factors : An increasingly sedentary lifestyle, tobacco smoke, increase in humidity and climate change are some other factors that lead to increase in the cases and types of allergies.

Suggested Preventive Measures :

Medical professionals are unanimous in their opinion that allergies are better prevented than cured. The onset of the spring season sees a spurt in the cases of allergies due to changes in the weather pattern, and the arrival of a lot of allergens in the air. Allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, skin allergies and food allergies acquire epidemic proportions, and cause much grief to the immunity-deficient. Given below are some precautions one can take to avoid being afflicted by allergies:

Regular cleaning of hands :
The most elementary precaution against allergies is the regular washing of hands with soap, so as to wash away potential infections-spreading agents.

Visiting an allergist :

Saline spray :

An effective method of preventing allergies of the nasal cavity is the use of saline sprays and nasal washes, which clear the sinus cavity of allergens and mucus.

Avoidance of allergens :

Avoidance of irritants :

Just as it is important to avoid allergens, it is important to avoid irritants such as tobacco smoke, vehicular emissions, certain fragrances and household cleaning products that contain the chemical formaldehyde.

Impact of Allergies on Normal Life :

Allergies normally are not life-threatening conditions, but they can severely affect a person's quality of life. Acute asthma is a life-threatening condition, but allergies mostly express themselves as rashes, watery discharges from eyes and nose, or vomiting and queasiness. Food allergies can be so severe that avoidance of allergens­-containing foods becomes the only option left for the afflicted.
The onset of winters makes life difficult for those with respiratory disorders, while the onset of spring—when temperature fluctuations take effect—ushers in a period of uneasiness for those allergic to changes in temperature.

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