In less than 20 years, allergies have become a planet-wide plague. Whereas we thought our immune systems protected us, we now know they can turn against us. Whereas we thought we had identified the health hazards, we are now discovering that even the most inoffensive products can be dangerous. Cosmetics, detergents, foodstuffs, drugs, plants, the air we breathe, or a simple kiss can, at some point, trigger an allergy in any person, at any age, in any country. But do we really know what allergies are? Are we aware of all substances that can trigger this immune response? Can we explain why some people become allergic while others do not? Can we eliminate the plague?
400 million people worldwide suffer from allergic rhinitis and another 300 million have asthma. Allergic diseases rank 4th on the list of diseases according to the WHO and could become 3rd in the next few decades.
What are the factors responsible for the scourge of global allergies?