Are you suffering from Allergies? You’re Not Alone

In Canada, one in 13 Canadians, or 2.5 million people, are affected by a food allergy. It is estimated 6.9 per cent of children and 7.7 per cent of adults live with a food allergy, according to new prevalence estimates from the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen). More than one in six Canadians suffer from hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis. A survey commissioned by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson suggests as many as 10 million Canadians may suffer allergy symptoms and that more women than men admit to symptoms. The survey also found that 55 per cent of Canadians claim their allergies cut into their productivity and more than a quarter say they’ll limit their outdoor time to prevent the onset of symptoms. In some cases, severe allergic symptoms can lead to asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology estimates that as many as 38 per cent of people with allergic rhinitis may also have asthma. In the population aged 12 to 19, about 11 per cent have asthma.

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Allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases. An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. These reactions are caused by a malfunctioning immune system. The master control system of the body – the nervous system – is often compromised. We are not born with allergies. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. You develop them after you are exposed to allergens.

It usually happens during your first few years but it can happen anytime – even well into adulthood. Sometimes a child’s allergy symptoms will diminish later in life, or even go away completely. Allergens cause allergies, and unfortunately, allergens are everywhere. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, mold spores and pet dander. When someone has allergies, their immune system makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Most allergies are caused by something in the air we breathe. Common allergy symptoms include: runny nose congestion, sneezing, sinus pressure, itchy throat, itchy nose, itchy, and watery eyes.

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