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Understanding allergies

Allergies, a growing scourge…

Today we decry a veritable "world epidemic explosion" of allergic diseases.

In 1995, the World Health Organisation (WHO) considered allergies to be the sixth most major health scourge in the world.

Five years later, we had cause to sound the alarm: allergy went up into second position in the rankings, immediately after arterial hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

Today allergic diseases affect more than 20% of the population of industrialised countries and have undergone an inexorable increase of 25% in 10 years. Their most frequent manifestations are: asthma, intermittant and persistant rhinitis, conjunctivitis, urticaria.

In real terms, there is no rational explanation for this incredible increase, but factors such as climate change and seasonal fluctuations, which involve the perannual atmospheric presence of pollens, the hereditary transmission of atopy and the changes to our environment - which is subjected to a substantial increase in pollution - are possible culprits.

To counter this scourge, the most commonly used allopathic remedy is the range of antihistamines. Unfortunately, these are not suitable for everyone and often come with a series of side effects that are unpleasant to say the least: diurnal drowsiness and cognitive disorders. Homeopathy, naturopathy, phytotherapy and acupuncture can prove to be worthwhile channels… but today attention is above all directed towards nutritherapy, thanks to the latest discoveries from experiments on quail's eggs.

What is an allergy?

When a foreign substance of type antigen enters the body, a reaction takes place. In all individuals who have been normally immunised, the antigen is absorbed whether through respiration or ingestion, and the body releases antibodies from the B lymphocytes which protect the body from attack.

In a person with allergic tendencies, the body will overproduce immunoglobulin E which will attach itself to the mastocytes and cause a sensitisation exacerbated by the release of histamine among others. These occurrences may translate into repeated sneezing, tracheitis, asthma, redness of the eyes, runny nose, eczema, spring rhinitis etc. and cause problems on a daily basis for their sufferers.

The most frequent allergies are respiratory allergies. They are caused by pneumallergens: dust, pollens, animal hairs, fermentation caused by mould, mites. The latter alone are responsible for more than 65% of respiratory allergies.

Food allergies are caused by trophallergens. They mainly affect small children, and they are less frequent in adolescents. However, they are becoming more powerful and longer lasting. Their most common form is eczema.


Links to pollinic calendars




Today the majority of allergies are respiratory, and are caused by pollens, mites or pet hairs.

Allergic rhinitis may take the form of a runny nose, stinging eyes or simply a nose that is blocked too often. 

Allergies may occur at all ages, probably on predisposed diathesis and under the effect of an 'accelerator' that is not always identified.


Allergic rhinitis




Atopic dermatitis


The word allergy describes several reactions that may manifest themselves on different parts of the body: the skin, the eyes, the digestive system and the respiratory tract.
The types of symptoms and their intensity vary depending on the place where the allergy presents itself, and on each individual. The symptoms may be slight, such as a runny nose or potentially fatal such as anaphylactic shock.

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