About two billion people have allergic complications, according to estimates of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology. Not any other illness, at any moment of history, affected as much people. Specialists start to face it as an epidemic. Only in the United States, each year 5 000 people die suffocated during asthma crises, and 90 million Americans deal daily with the discomfort of rhinitis and dermatitis, the more common allergic varieties. Finding the cure or the causes for this became, thus, a challenge that involves more than interests of public health.
An allergic person that takes remedy against his type of allergy will be able to prevent the misfortunes of the reactions of his immunological system to an allergenic (examples of allergenics: dust, milk, peanut, insects, pets’ hair, etc.). However, the organism will continue producing defensive substances that can create an allergic reaction later on, by getting stronger than the medicine or generating unknown effects to the person who takes it. This is extremely related to the causes of the allergies, another shady area recently illuminated by new researches.
During a lot of time, allergies were thought as hereditary, given that evidences show that the probability of children who have allergic parents to develop the illness is of 70%. However, the advance of the allergic processes in the rhythm of the technological development and the improvement of the life conditions made the scientists consider other hypotheses. The underprivileged populations of the East of Russia, India, Indonesia and Africa register 50% less incidence of cases of allergies than rich countries – over all when compared to the inhabitants of the great European and American metropolises, where there is more asepsis and medical care.
This leads to a hypothetical explanation to the causes of the allergies, the so called “hygienical hypothesis”. When observing children who live in farms of Germany and Austria, where they drink raw milk and have contact with the land and fertilizers, it was proved that the incidence of allergic complications among them is 75% less than in the boys who live in the cities.
Another research, involving 480 cadets of the Italian Air Force disclosed that the respiratory allergies are less frequent between military that in their childhood had been exposed to microbes transmitted through dirty water and meals cooked with this water. It’s unusual, but dealing with these facts, scientists are tempted to conclude that the suppression of illnesses as measles, mumps and even diseases caused mostly in children by viruses and worms, – all practically eradicated in the developed countries – can also have its harmful side, since this makes the immunologic system idle.
The acceptance of the “hygienical hypothesis” is growing in the medical community and this can lead to adjustments in the way parents raise their children. Even children who have flues with more frequency in the first years of their life seem to tend less to develop allergies.
Super protective parents that do not allow the children to walk bare-footed, have contact with animals or that only bathe their babies in mineral or boiled water would be, therefore, producing negative and contrary consequences to their children.
This thesis is based on the hypothesis that the exposure to the microbes in infancy strengthens the lymphocytes – white cells of the blood that act in the defense against parasites, embryos, etc.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you must give in when your son refuses to take a bath. But it is probable that the human body is not changing so quickly as the civilization. For millenniums we have coexisted with viruses and bacteria, and suddenly we become highly aseptic. Also, our alimentary habits had never been modified so radically, nor had we as much access to chemical remedies and other products as we have now. Probably, in the future, people will try to treat allergies with a healthy diet and less drug prescriptions.