The Growth of Allergies


Pollen, a common form of allergy

Between the years of 1997-2008, the growth of allergies in children under 18 increased by over 50%. In fact, every three minutes, allergies send someone to the emergency room, and 200,000 people require emergency care each year because of allergies. But why does this happen exactly? Many think it is the cause of global warming, but that is probably not the case. Although not the only theory, the leading theory of the growth of allergies is called hygiene hypothesis, which is saying that “the living conditions in much of the world might be too clean and that kids aren’t being exposed to germs that train their immune systems to tell the difference between harmless and harmful irritants.” (AAAAI)

The concept of hygiene hypothesis is supported by the fact that people living in dirtier environments such as third-world countries, like Thailand and Somalia, and farm areas are less likely to get allergies, as the theory suggests cleaner environments equal more allergies. With allergies possibly on the rise, maybe we should be thinking about being less hygenic, and although it sounds disgusting, because it will stop the allergy problem. But, even though there are many reasons why allergies are on the rise, some experts actually say they are not.

Although all of the evidence, many experts actually believe that allergies are not on the rise and that they are just self-diagnosed. Many parents take a small stomachache or gastrointestinal pain as a food allergy, when it may just be a sensitivity to lactose, which falls in a completely different category. Experts say that, “A parent of a young child introduces a new food — say, milk — into the diet, and then notices the child has an upset stomach or other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. The parent may suspect a food allergy. But, perhaps, these are signs of lactose intolerance — a completely different condition.” Many people are saying that if children experience an “allergic reaction”, or anything as such, to get a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment right away as it could be life-threatening in the, possibly near, future.

Allergies are only one of our world’s problems but, as big as problems get, this one’s a big one. Allergies can be dangerous, and can maybe even take a life, actually make that a few lives. This must be stopped as soon as possible as it will make the world a safer place.