The Rise of Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and asthma are increasingly becoming a major concern in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that food allergy cases among kids increased about 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. Additionally, asthma cases in both adults and children increased approximately 28 percent between 2001 and 2011.

Why the Increase?

One widely held theory known as the “hygiene hypothesis” suggests that today’s ultra-clean standards don’t allow kids’ immune systems to get good at discerning between good and bad entities in the environment. Thus, they may get jumpy and overreact to harmless pollens in the environment, treating them like harmful germs. This “overreaction” can lead to the immune system processes that cause allergies and asthma.

Other research suggests that the prevalence of allergies and asthma is due to air pollution, heavy antibiotic use (for ourselves and for the animals we eat), or climate changes triggering pollen level increases.

Creating a Safer Environment for the Family

The continuous rise of asthma and allergy cases may seem daunting, but there are some measures you can take to safeguard your home from increased likelihood of allergies or asthma:

  • Avoid smoking, especially smoking indoors and around kids
  • Wash your pets regularly (to avoid excessive pet dander)
  • Wash bed sheets and linens weekly (to minimize dust mites)
  • Avoid allergy-causing foods
  • Avoid going outdoors during high-pollen times (and don’t sleep with the windows open)

These measures can help to some degree, but if you feel your allergies persisting, consider a permanent solution with allergy immunotherapy. Immunotherapy can actually help “teach” your immune system to stop overacting to harmless elements in the environment in ways that trigger allergic reactions. Shots have long been used for immunotherapy, but under-the-tongue drops are also becoming widely available and have been found to be safer and better for kids than shots. Contact AllergyEasy for more information.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.