Allergies are the most common chronic illness. Allergies are a disorder of the immune system. An allergy is described as an inappropriate response to a normally harmless invader. The concept of allergies is relatively modern with the first description appearing a little over a hundred years ago. Allergy rates vary across the world ranging from 10 to 40 percent of the population. Interestingly the richer the country is the more allergies the population has.

The increase in the number of individuals with allergies, particularly in richer countries, is not clearly understood. Lifestyle, diet choices and genetics all seem to play a role. In the United States about one person in five have allergies. If one parent has allergies, there is a 25 percent chance that a child will also be allergic. The risk of having an allergic child is 60 to 70 percent if both parents have allergies. Babies born in developing countries have a lower incidence of allergies than those in developed countries. However if a family moves to a developed country, the incidence of childhood allergies increases.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.