ALLERGIES

 

More and more people suffer from allergies. This fact is before our eyes every day and confirmed by national statistics, according to which allergies are the third most common and frequently occurring chronic diseases, with an ever increasing growth rate.

In general terms, an allergy can be defined as an “exaggerated” response of the organism towards substances called allergens (present in foodstuffs as well as in the environment), which although harmless are perceived by the immune system as being extraneous or enemies.

Contact with such “allergens” induces the immune system to produce a particular class of antibodies, typical of allergic manifestations: type E immunoglobulins (IgE). They “defend” the organism from substances considered as harmful by developing a set of annoying and at times dangerous symptoms called “allergic response”, involving either the skin or the mucosa (conjunctival, nasal, bronchial), leading to typical manifestations such as dermatitis, conjunctivitis, asthma or rhinitis.

Among all allergic manifestations, the most common ones are surely rhinitis and conjunctivitis, with a complex of symptoms that often involve the nasal mucosa and the conjunctiva at the same time (rhino-conjunctivitis). It is thought that about 10 – 30% of the world’s population is affected by the problem; in Italy the percentage reaches around 20 – 25% on average. The incidence of asthma in particular is extremely high: in Italy about 1 child in 10 suffers from asthma:  more in detail, 9, 5 % of children and 10, 4% of adolescents.