Every year at least one new allergy affects almost one adult in five, equal to 19.5% of the Italians, and one young person under 30 years of age every four. A recent research by Assosalute – the national association of self-medication drugs – reported this data.
The study also reveals that 40% of adolescents suffer from allergies, a percentage that could reach 50% by 2022.
Prof. Giorgio Walter Canonica, head of the Centre for Personalized Medicine Asthma and Allergies at the Immuno Center of Humanitas, talked about it in an interview, pointing out that “allergy represents an anomalous response to certain substances, which triggers a series of annoying reactions”. “If in spring many subjects show allergic reactions to pollen, resulting in hay fever and rhinitis, it is important not to forget that the allergies can follow us at home and also that there are simple measures to be taken to avoid it – added the professor, also president of the Italian Society of Allergology, Asthma and Clinical Immunology – . There are many substances in our homes that may in fact induce, in sensitive individuals, respiratory disorders but also, in some cases, skin reactions.
How our body reacts to allergens
“When the pollens come into contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat, their outer protective cover is “dissolved” due to humidity and the proteins present inside are released, the so-called allergens, which are generally harmless to most people”.
“It may happen, however, that the immune system, that is, the ‘shield’ that defends our body from attacks by viruses and bacteria – said the professor – mistakenly identifies allergens as potentially harmful, reacting excessively to combat them through a series of complex steps, forming specific antibodies, the immunoglobulins E (IgE). So, every time the body comes into contact with the same allergen, some cells of the immune system or mast cells release histamine, the substance responsible for classic allergic disorders.