Onset and consequences
Impact on quality of life
In addition to causing direct allergy symptoms such as a runny nose or red eyes, allergies can also have a significant impact on the patients' quality of life. Often, their performance at work or school, along with their sleep quality and social lives, can be greatly impaired.
From airway allergies to asthma
If allergic rhinitis is not (sufficiently) treated, the allergy can progress to asthma.1 This is called an "atopic march" because the disease has spread from the upper to the lower respiratory tract. It has been scientifically proven that specific immunotherapy can slow down or even totally prevent an atopic march.2
Are allergies dangerous?
An allergic reaction can cause a multitude of inflammatory responses. The mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes can become itchy and produce excess mucus. This can mean a runny nose, or watery and itchy eyes. The bronchial musculature can also become tight and cramped, resulting in asthma attacks and shortness of breath. Allergies frequently cause itchy welts, swelling, or an attack of neurodermatitis. The worst and most severe outcome of all allergic reactions is an anaphylactic shock.
1 Shaaban R. et al.: Rhinitis and onset of asthma: a longitudinal population-based study. Lancet. 2008; sep 20; 372(9643):1049-57.
2 Jacobens L. et al.: Specific immunotherapy has long-term preventive effect of seasonal and perennial asthma: 10-year follow-up on the PAT study. Allergy. 2007 Aug;62(8):943-8.