Allergies are a real widespread disease: an overview

20 million people in Germany suffer from allergies. The symptoms range from slight itching and reddened eyes to shortness of breath and fainting. In the worst case scenario, an allergy shock can even be fatal. But even if the allergy is only mildly pronounced, those affected sometimes experience unpleasant restrictions in their everyday life.

Allergy is a common disease – one in four is affected

In Germany, one in four people is affected by one or more allergies. Even infants can develop allergies – and they don’t stop at old age either. It is often reported that an allergy appeared out of nowhere. And indeed, allergies can arise spontaneously in any phase of life. However, medical professionals and scientists have discovered through research that there is a genetic (and thus hereditary) tendency to allergies. This means that if there are people in the family with allergies, your own risk of developing an allergy is significantly higher. It is easy to find out whether the first signs of an allergy are already there. So-called Self-tests can be an orientation that you can tell about when you visit a doctor.

Allergietest beim Arzt
In the allergy test, a different allergen is applied to each skin area to observe the reaction.
(Image: © Microgen / Adobe Stock)

Allergies develop slowly

Allergies can occur at any time, even if you have never had problems with them in years. However, they do not arise overnight. An allergy develops slowly, unnoticed and usually over a longer period of time. Allergies are triggered by so-called allergens. Allergens are foreign proteins to which the immune system reacts with defense and is highly sensitive. Whenever the body comes into contact with the allergens, for example with cat hair, the immune system reacts and builds antibodies against them. The more often you are exposed to this allergen, the faster the antibodies develop. As soon as enough antibodies are formed, the immune system attacks the allergens and the body reacts violently.

Histamine causes the typical allergy symptoms

Every allergic reaction is due to the hormone histamine. Whether itching, skin rashes or swelling, shortness of breath and fainting, all these symptoms occur because the body’s own immune system uses antibodies to flood the body with histamine. The severity of the symptoms depends on the number of antibodies and the sensitivity of the body.

Avoiding all allergens (allergenic substances) is almost impossible. The number of possible allergy triggers is enormous and contact can never be ruled out. Doctors even advise against “avoidance therapy”. The immune system needs bacteria and allergens to train the immune system. A functioning and strong immune defense is also vital in order to be able to fight serious diseases.

Symptome Allergie
Image: © prockopenko / Adobe Stock

According to research, the risk of a strong, uncontrolled allergic reaction even increases if the environment (surfaces, toys, etc.) is sterile and free of germs and bacteria due to constant disinfection.

Intelligent help with hay fever

With 12.5 million allergy sufferers, hay fever is by far the number one allergy in Germany. Directly followed by house dust / mite allergies and animal hair allergies. Hay fever is one of those allergies that can be least avoided. In spring at the latest, the pollen from trees, grasses and plants begin their flight cycle. Until late summer, allergy sufferers are plagued by sometimes severe immune reactions.

Special medications can provide relief, but use is often associated with severe fatigue. A side effect that, like the allergy itself, affects everyday life. Apps that predict the pollen count can be a good complementary help. Klara is such an app for smartphones or tablets. Based on the location, it determines the current pollen count and its intensity. In the allergy log you can track all symptoms every day and record exactly how the current pollen count affects your own symptoms. The system analyzes the data – and based on this, determines how badly you could be affected in the following days.

With the help of the Klara app you can better plan days on which a strong pollen count is expected and at best avoid allergic reactions to a certain extent.

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