Up to 35% of all people throughout the world experience allergies at some point in their life, and this number is on the increase. At first, allergies only seemed to be increasing in developed countries such as the UK and USA but as more and more countries around the world become more industrially developed, they too are seeing an increase in the rate of allergies.
With World Allergy Week, which takes place from 4th to 10th of April 2016, fast approaching us, we thought what better time to take a deeper look into what is causing this fast rise in allergies and how we can look to prevent it or limit its effects.
Started by World Allergy Organization (WAO), World Allergy Week is an annual initiative which raises awareness of allergic disease and its related disorders. The week also aims to offer training and resources to the general public on diagnosis, management and prevention of allergies.
Initially, the increase in allergies was only seen to be affecting asthma and allergic rhinitis (more commonly known as hay fever); however, as more time passes we are seeing the increase spread to also include food allergies. This increase has happened at such a rate that in the UK it is estimated that up to 50% of all children now suffer from an allergy of some kind.
Doctors and scientists have suggested a number of reasons why allergies are increasing at such a rate. Firstly, genetics plays a huge role in allergies and if both parents suffer from allergies themselves, then the chance of their children suffering from any type of allergy is increased by 80%.
Another suggestion for the increase in allergies has been hygiene. Because developed societies place such a priority on cleanliness, it has been suggested that as infants we do not come in contact with enough bacteria and micro-organisms for our immune system to properly mature. This has been proven through a study which found that children living on farms (coming in contact with animals and dirt on a daily basis) had a much smaller tendency to develop allergies than those who lived in the city.
Our diets could be another reason why allergies are experiencing such a rapid increase. As we consume more processed foods and less fruits and vegetables, our bodies are not getting enough nutrients (particularly vitamin D, omega 3-fatty acids and antioxidants) and this could be causing allergies to develop.
One way in which we can combat the spread of allergies is through having continuous ventilation throughout our home, which stops any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which cause and aggravate allergies, from settling. The perfect way to do this is by installing a whole house heat recovery system which ensures that your home has a constant supply of fresh air for your family to breathe in. This low energy home heat recovery system works great in almost all properties, and will reduce the chance of your family suffering from allergies, or having their current allergies worsened.