In Western societies, the incidence and prevalence of respiratory and food-related allergies have increased rapidly over the past decades. Changes in life style, e.g. in hygiene, child vaccination, housing insulation, food consumption patterns, etc. are thought to be involved in this increase. Direct and indirect costs related to allergy are expected to rise rapidly, especially in the Central and Eastern European countries that recently joined the European Union. Major concerns relate to the significant decrease of the quality of life of patients and their relatives.
Therefore, time is urgent to develop strategies for large-scale and structural tackling of the allergy problem. Approaches aiming at allergy prevention with a focus on controlling our living environment and the food production chain, as well as on the choices consumers and patients make, seem very promising and complementary to solve this medicalized problem.
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