Allergies: Every third adult is allergic

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Every third German citizen suffers from an allergy

According to a survey, around 35 percent of adults in Germany suffer from one or more allergies. This was the result of a representative survey by the opinion and research institute Forsa on behalf of the German Dermatological Society (DDG). The most common allergy is pollen allergy and hay fever.

Constant sneezing, swollen eyes, rashes, burning and itching: According to one in three Germans, they suffer from an allergy. In the course of a survey study, a total of 1004 people were selected according to a "systematic random procedure from 18 years of age in Germany on the subject of allergies".

Women in particular suffer from allergies
52 percent said the topic “allergies are very important or important to them”. According to this, 48 ​​percent of the respondents considered the topic “allergy” to be less or not at all important. The younger the participants were, the less important the topic was to them. A third of the subjects stated that they had already been diagnosed with an allergy by a dermatologist or therapist. Middle-aged women (30 to 33 years) with a "high level of education" seem to be particularly often affected. 42 percent of women said they had a diagnosed allergy.

Most people suffer from a pollen allergy
Classic hay fever, caused by a pollen allergy, is one of the most common allergies. Around 43 percent of allergy sufferers suffer from it. 23 percent of those affected said they were allergic to dust mites. 20 percent react to food, 18 percent are allergic to animal hair from dogs, cats or other small animals, 15 percent have a contact allergy and 14 percent react to certain medicines. 9 percent react to insect bites from bees and wasps, and 5 percent are allergic to UV or sunlight. Those who suffer from hay fever show 71 percent allergic reactions to so-called "early bloomers" such as hazel, birch or alder. 58 percent are allergic to grass or cereals and 21 percent to herbs.

Recognition of eczema as a chronic disease is required
As reported by the German Dermatological Society (DGG) in Berlin on Friday, neurodermatitis, food intolerance, allergic asthma and specific contact allergies play a minor role, but the symptoms are usually very pronounced. For this reason, the chairman of the Institute for Health Services Research in Dermatology at Hamburg University Hospital, Dr. Matthias Augustin that "neurodermatitis is recognized as a serious chronic illness". In addition to the severe symptoms such as itchy skin, the patients sometimes suffer from depression or sleep disorders due to the symptoms. In order to care for the skin, most of those affected have to use “moisturizing creams to relieve the itching”. Because the illness is not recognized as a chronic illness, "the costs for this are not paid by the health insurance companies". For low-income households, the additional expenditure is a special financial burden because the health insurers do not cover the costs.

The majority perceive allergic reactions as stressful
The majority of allergy sufferers (53 percent) experience their illness as stressful. About a fifth said that the allergy had a negative impact on one's performance. Among them were many people who suffer from neurodermatitis and who have red, itchy skin and eczema. Up to 20 percent of all children and two percent of adults suffer from neurodermatitis. The allergy was particularly stressful for women from the age of 45. 63 percent said the chronic illness was very stressful or distressing.

Treatment options for conventional and natural medicine
In the case of a pollen allergy, conventional medicine increasingly offers so-called hyposensitization in addition to symptomatic soothing sprays and creams. The cures usually last between 6 and 8 weeks. "Naturopathy, on the other hand, relies on therapy that looks at the entire organism," explained Klaus Hahn, an alternative practitioner from Hanover. In addition to homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the focus is increasingly on “autologous blood therapy, hypnosis, Bach flower therapy and intestinal rehabilitation”. While hyposensitization is recognized as a health insurance benefit, the statutory health insurance companies do not pay for the latter. (sb)

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Photo credit: Thomas Blenkers /

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