“It is necessary to make sensitivity a great national cause!”

Why Doctor: According to a report published by the Asthma and Allergy Society on March 22, one in three adults born after 1980 currently suffers from allergies. In 2050, half of the world’s population will be affected by at least one allergic disease, according to projections. Do you confirm that these cases constitute a major public health problem?

Catherine Koike: Unfortunately yes ! For years, the allergy community has been advocating with policy makers the need to make allergy a great national issue. This is such a problem that the French Federation of Allergology (FFA) and patient associations have drawn up a five-year plan to combat these diseases, which has been presented to all presidential candidates. The aim of this project is to raise the awareness of the authorities of the increasing importance of allergy, multi-sensitivity, cross-allergy and acute hypo-allergy to improve the management of these diseases.

In France, the incidence of hay fever has quadrupled over the past three decades. It now affects more than 25% of the general population in France. How do we explain this mutation in allergic rhinitis?

In France, a slight increase in respiratory allergies, the main causes of which are grass pollen, dust mites, and pets, has been observed in recent years. This slight increase is caused by delayed flowering. For some time now, the pollen appeared earlier and the season was getting longer. In addition, air pollution modifies the composition of pollen, making it more sensitive.

Did the Covid-19 epidemic encourage the occurrence of respiratory allergies?

The epidemic had no effect on the prevalence of allergies. During the first lockdown in 2020, an increase in symptoms was observed, as grass pollen on roadsides was not cut and temperatures were higher.

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The allergy community noted an increase in cross-sensitivity. But what is it?

Cross-allergies are caused by the presence of similar or similar structures in different substances such as pollen, food, or animal hair.

The most common are between allergens, a substance suspended in the air such as pollen, or between tropolargins, any substance found in food, or between an allergen and an allergen. For example, a person allergic to dust mites may also be allergic to snails, or a patient allergic to birch pollen may be more likely to be allergic to raw apples or pears.

In general, adults who are allergic to pollen do not immediately understand that they are allergic to certain foods. They go to an allergist for a pollen allergy. The practitioner will ask them to take tests and ask them questions about the consumption of certain foods. Another possible condition: People notice that their tongue itch or that their lips swell after eating a fruit or vegetable. During the consultation, the specialist will try to understand whether the patient suffers from ENT every year in the same period and will confirm that he has cross-allergy.

Currently, what technologies can effectively manage respiratory allergies and improve patients’ daily lives?

In the event of an allergy from the respiratory tract, it is recommended, initially, to limit contact with the allergen. Avoidance, depending on the allergen responsible, consists of not sleeping with pets, bathing your cat to reduce the presence of the allergen for at least 24 hours, choosing a featherless pillow, a mattress without wool, and using electrostatic fabrics. Other recommendations: Don’t exercise when the weather is nice and windy, wash your hair in the evening, and air your home in the early morning and late evening outside the pollution tops.

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Medical treatment for respiratory allergies relies on taking antihistamines, eye drops, and topical corticosteroids in the nose. Allergic rhinitis can also be treated with sublingual desensitization in the form of drops or tablets, the purpose of which is to make the patient tolerate the allergen. People allergic to dust mites should follow this treatment every day for three to five years, and those allergic to grass pollen use this method for five years, before and during pollen season.

What is the latest news on allergy treatments?

It is now possible to use monoclonal antibodies, by injection, to fight severe allergic asthma. The use of this remedy has recently been extended to treat chronic urticaria, including cold urticaria. These occur on areas of skin exposed to cold through direct contact with cold materials, cold drafts, or cold water.

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