Allergy

Half of all Europeans affected by allergies

In 2015, more than 150 million Europeans suffered from chronic allergic diseases. By 2025, half of all Europeans are assumed to be affected, whereas already today an estimated 45% of allergy patients have never received an allergy diagnosis. 

A reduction in productivity and an increase in sick leave are substantial negative consequences. In the EU, insufficiently treated allergies leads to costs ranging between 55 billion and 151 billion euro per year. Appropriate treatments may lead to average savings of around 142 billion euros per year.

What is an allergy?

Allergies are immunological hypersensitivities that can lead to a variety of different diseases. It is the most common chronic disease in Europe. Patients with allergies make lgE antibodies against environmental or dietary proteins. Allergies manifest in various forms such as anaphylaxis, allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma or atopic dermatitis.

Often, allergies starts already in early childhood and might have a strong genetic background. However, having allergies as a child does not inevitably mean that one has to live with it over a life-time. In certain cases, patients may outgrow their allergic disease spontaneously. 

The most common allergens are pollen, pets, house dust mite, venom allergens and food allergens. To test whether people are allergic to certain substances (proteins), several testing methods such as skin prick tests, intradermal tests, nasal and bronchial provocation tests as well as food provocation tests can be used.

Pollution and climate change trigger allergies

Several environmental risk factors including outdoor pollution, such as industrial or traffic emissions, indoor pollution, like indoor-smoking, moulds and chemicals, as well as climate change can elicit and/or exacerbate allergic diseases.