Home » Italians increasingly allergic also due to climate change Italpress news agency

Italians increasingly allergic also due to climate change Italpress news agency

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Italians increasingly allergic also due to climate change Italpress news agency

MILAN (ITALPRESS) – By the middle of this century, experts estimate that over 50% of the population will be allergic and no improvements are looming in the future scenario. Thus begins Lorenzo Cecchi, President of AAIITO (Association of Territorial and Hospital Allergologists and Immunologists), in his speech at the press event of ASSOSALUTE, National Association of self-medication drugs, part of Federchimica, entitled: “Respiratory allergies and climate: what is changing and what know”.
“Currently, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), there are 100 million European citizens who suffer from allergic rhinitis and 70 million from asthma”, continues Cecchi. “Two diseases often associated, so much so that we can say that over 90% of asthmatics also have rhinitis and half of the people who have rhinitis have asthma of varying severity”.
Since respiratory allergies are caused by allergens that come into contact with the body through the air we breathe, the correlation between air pollution/smog and the increase in allergic pathologies is immediate: “this is due to the harmful synergy between pollutants, pollen and allergens . The pollutants, on the one hand, damage the mucous membrane and facilitate greater penetration of pollen and, on the other hand, increase their allergenicity”.
Added to this are the effects of climate change, in particular the increase in temperature, which affects, anticipating the flowering seasons of plants, such as birch and cypress, and prolonging, for example, that of grasses and parietaria. “Pollution”, comments Cecchi, “contributes to the damage of the so-called ‘epithelial barrier’, a wall made of bricks where the immune system is located underneath, as if it were a shield that filters what arrives from the outside, limiting the number of substances that come into contact with the immune system. The substances that man has introduced into the environment in the last 60-70 years, around 350,000, cause the disconnection of these bricks and the consequent penetration of allergens, pollutants, irritants and microorganisms, including bacteria. Some of the latter live above the epithelial barrier and contribute to balance with the immune system. Damage to the epithelial barrier causes and fuels inflammation, which is the source of allergic diseases but also of other chronic diseases”.
To avoid this “disconnection” of the wall and these excessive infiltrations, it is necessary, Cecchi reiterates, to commit to reducing the substances that generate outdoor and indoor pollution.
Although the genetic predisposition to respiratory allergies is indisputable, it is also possible to affirm, precisely because of the surrounding environment, that one can become allergic. To corroborate this thesis, “the so-called hygienic hypothesis, according to which people in contact with pathogens are less likely to be allergic, as widely studied in children born in rural contexts compared to their peers who live in cities”.
“Basically”, explains Cecchi, “in the rural environment the balance between the bacteria of the environment and our immune system is better maintained, a balance that has been achieved over millions of years of coexistence. This explains why there are more allergic diseases in the western world than in other less developed countries”.
In this sense, prevention plays a fundamental role: “In Finland, for example, a project financed by the State has been launched which provides, with a view to prevention, recreational activities for children in the open air, such as those with earth and with the vegetable garden to bring children closer to nature. The results of this initiative have already shown improvements in the reduction of allergies and asthma”.
In fact, children are the most exposed to respiratory allergies, as opposed to other allergies. “More than 1 in 3 children have at least one episode of acute wheezing before the age of 3 and, often, in the form of wheezing or wheezing: this is because children are exposed to those environmental stimuli that represent risk factors for ‘onset of allergic diseases in the developmental stage of their immune system’.
Even for adults, however, prevention is essential through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, rich in antioxidants, and through information, staying up to date on forecasting systems and environmental monitoring systems, both for pollen and for pollutants, on official websites. The issue of sporting activity is more delicate: “even if today’s treatments now allow you to carry out any type of physical activity, there are some types of sport that require greater attention, such as cycling, which exposes the athlete to high concentrations of pollen”.
Attention, then, for allergy sufferers, both adults and children, even to indoor allergens, such as dust mites and pet dandruff: “use”, suggests the Doctor, “for mattresses and pillows anti-mite covers, wash animals once a week and keep them away from sofas, upholstered furniture, bedrooms”.
“When it comes to respiratory allergies it is useful to know and recognize the importance of the correct use of self-medication drugs in effectively contrasting the symptoms; these medicines”, underlines Cecchi, “have a very high safety profile, but they must be used for limited periods”.
Specifically, antihistamines, available both for topical use (nasal sprays or eye drops) or to be taken orally (tablets), are valid allies and are also safe for children, in the right doses. “In the presence of nasal congestion due to allergies to the upper respiratory tract, it may be useful to resort to antihistamines (possibly with vasoconstrictors), while anti-allergic eye drops are useful for relieving the symptoms of conjunctivitis which is often associated with allergic rhinitis”.
“For the use of all medicines and self-medication it is essential to always read the package leaflet and contact the pharmacist. If the symptoms persist, a visit to your doctor and/or specialist is recommended. Finally, Cecchi reaffirms respect for the times of treatment and therapy: “it would be advisable not to start it too much in advance of flowering and not continue even after”.
The five tips for the allergy season: a correct diagnosis, relying, if necessary, on a specialist in case of persistent symptoms; knowledge of allergens and one’s own allergies in order to reduce exposure; the conscious use of therapies, both pharmacological and specific immunotherapy, obviously mediated by the specialist; take advantage of the information available and pay attention to fake news which is widespread especially on the internet. Always use reliable sources; enjoy the outdoors, because it is important to lead a “normal” life, without limitations and, with the right therapy, it is possible to carry out any activity.
– Assosalute event press office photo –

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