Common ailment

Allergies in numbers

1 %

of all 20 to 40 year olds suffer from respiratory allergies

1 %

of all allergic patients in Germany are not adequately treated

1 Mio

annual absence days from school and work are due to allergies in Europe

Allergies are the most common chronic disease in all industrialized countries.

The most common allergies include:

  • allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • asthma
  • neurodermatitis
  • Urticaria
  • Contact allergies

Almost every third adult (28.1%) stated in an RKI survey that he/she had been diagnosed with an allergy (other than asthma) in the last 12 months. Women were more frequently affected (31.6%) than men (24.5%).

Allergies are always chronic and progressive. Untreated hay fever is considered one of the main risk factors for the development of asthma. Experts call this the allergic or atopic march.

Only about 10% of all allergic patients in Germany receive adequate treatment.

Allergens

Generally, there is a distinction being made between so-called type 4 allergens, which cause a T-cell response, and type 1 allergens, which cause an immediate type allergic reaction. 
 
The common type 1 allergens, which are of importance in buildings, include pollen carried into the building from the outdoors. Of particular importance here are pollen from the tree species birch, alder, hazel, and less allergenic tree species such as beech and oak. Here follows a detailed assessment of the outdoor space and advice on planting plans.
 

There are clear lists of contact allergens from the German Society for Contact Allergy (DKG). However, the ingredients listed have different meanings depending on which of the materials they are found in. For example, a rubber ingredient on the backing material of a carpet is not a problem, while, for example, a volatile preservative in the backing material of the carpet may well have a significance in the indoor air. The same applies to the sheathing of plastics, e.g. cables. Particularly when these become warm under electrical load, there can be considerable evaporation of plasticizers here, which represents a burden for the interior.

 

Consequences and effects

  • Allergies cause more than 100 million days of absence from school and work each year throughout Europe, because allergy-related chronic fatigue impairs academic and professional performance
  • The avoidable annual costs to the economy caused by allergies – such as hay fever – in the EU are estimated at 100 billion euros.
  • Due to reduced performance at work, each allergy sufferer incurs an average of 528 euros per year in costs for days off work. However, the majority of the costs arise from the fact that allergy symptoms reduce the performance of employees. Per allergy sufferer, this amounts to an estimated 1,690 euros per year.
  • Children with untreated allergic rhinitis are 40% likely to drop at least one grade at school.
  • Allergies are often associated with high losses in quality of life.
  • Possible accompanying symptoms are: Fatigue, listlessness, depression, nervousness, restlessness, hyperactivity.
  • Approximately 7% of traffic accidents or near traffic accidents are due to allergies, for example, people close their eyes as a reflex when sneezing. In car traffic, this can have dangerous consequences