Asthma and allergies

Children playing outdoors.

Allergies can be prevented by boosting one’s resistance.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airway mucous membranes. An asthma inflammation causes a constriction of the airways. The most common asthma symptoms are coughing, wheezing, separation of the mucous membranes and shortness of breath. 

An allergy is an immune system disorder that typically lasts a lifetime. Allergy symptoms vary, ranging from mild to life-threatening. 

The most common allergy symptoms are sneezing, red and itchy eyes and discomfort in the skin or gut. Serious allergy symptoms include swelling of the airways and anaphylaxis, which can even lead to death. Anaphylaxis is a sudden, life-threatening allergic reaction.

Allergies are the most common chronic disease among children and adolescents.

Risk factors for and prevention of asthma and allergies

The factors contributing to atopic diseases, such as asthma and allergies, are hereditary predispositions, but the actual mechanism causing them is still unknown.

There is increasing evidence to suggest that atopy is caused by a decline in protective lifestyle and environmental factors. The natural development of immunity seems to be hampered in urban and hygienic environments. A compromised immune system leads to an exaggerated immune response to protein particles in the environment, such as pollen or nutrients.

Treatment of asthma and allergies

Information on the treatment of asthma and allergies can be found in the Current Care Guidelines: