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  1. Allergy occurrence increased over the last decades.Here are some statistics from https://www.foodallergy.org/life-food-allergies/food-allergy-101/facts-and-statistics - The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that the prevalence of food allergy in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. - Between 1997 and 2008, the prevalence of peanut or tree nut allergy appears to have more than tripled in U.S. children. Taking into account these figures, I think today people should pay great attention to understanding what allergy is and possible ways to avoid it. Please write an article about the causes of allergy and its endemic increase. And also about methods to prevent it.
  2. In recent years, the prevalence of asthma and respiratory allergies has increased. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 230 million people now suffer from asthma,[1][2][3] its largest risk factor being the inhalation of substances or particles that cause allergic reactions or irritation of the airways. Common irritants include dust mites, moulds, pet dander and pollen.[4] Contact dermatitis (skin allergy) has also increased, with nickel, latex and chemicals being its main causative agents.[5][6] In Western societies, food allergies have also been on the rise, the most common allergens being milk, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. In fact, it is now estimated that each year at least 30,000 people in the USA require emergency treatment for food allergies, with 150-200 dying as a result.[7] Climate change, environmental pollutants and occupational exposure to specific chemicals also contribute to the development of allergies.[8]  A widely accepted theory termed the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ suggests that the proliferation of allergies is a result of an increasingly ‘hygienic’ world that limits the contact of infant immune systems with microorganisms and bacteria. This could, in theory, prevent them from inducing appropriate responses later in life.[9][10] The theory essentially suggests that our immune systems are no longer challenged in the way they used to be, and thus overreact to allergens that they come into contact with. For example, studies have shown that children who live on farms have a lower incidence of allergy, atopic and non-atopic asthma.[11][12]  The scientific basis of the hygiene hypothesis is related to the balance of two types of white blood cells in our body called T helper 1 and T helper 2 (TH1 and TH2) cells. The balance is changed by bacterial and viral infections, which increase the number of TH1 cells (designed to fight infection) and decrease ‘pro’ allergy TH2 cells (generating allergic response). Whilst this is a widely accepted theory, this hypothesis is now under debate,[13] and it has been contradicted by some studies.[10] One of these studies showed that cleaning the house with bleach did not increase sensitisation to pollen allergens, and in fact, it was shown to protect from the risks of asthma and indoor allergens.[14] To further refute the cleanliness-asthma link hypothesis, other studies found that asthma incidence is decreasing in some Western countries, despite their population is not getting less clean, while in some Latin American countries there are high rates of both infections (due to presumed less cleanliness) and asthma.[12] The increase in food allergies is thought to originate in changes in diet and increased use of antibiotics, which can both alter the bacterial flora within the gut. This suggestion is supported by the fact that studies have shown a link between the bacteria found in the gut and immune responses including allergy development.[15] [16][17][18] Studies have also shown that the exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates – substances commonly found in plastics – during pregnancy and childhood can also cause food allergies. One study found that the concentration of BPA in the urine of pregnant women was directly correlated with wheezing in their children at five years of age, and asthma at three, five and seven years of age.[19] Similarly, higher concentrations of phthalates in pregnant women’s urine have been linked to their children’s allergy risk up to the age of two years of age, even though there was no association with phthalate levels in the children’s urine.[20] Less predominant risk factors for allergies include genetic ones. For example, children with one allergic parent are more likely to develop an allergy, and there are several genes and polymorphisms associated with asthma or atopy phenotype.[21] Despite that, it is thought that allergy to a specific factor is not hereditary, and the exact mode of inheritance is not yet understood.[22]  Although doubts have been raised over the hygiene hypothesis, avoiding over-cleaning and the non-essential use of antibiotics may still help to reduce the risks of allergies. Being aware of environmental factors is also a way to reduce the risk of allergy development, especially in children. Avoiding products that contain pesticides, phthalates, bisphenols or other toxic substances whenever possible may assist in decreasing the likelihood of developing allergies. Despite the unclear mechanism of allergies inheritance, they may indeed be hereditary, which means that by saving your own health you also save the health of your children.      [1] WHO. (2016) Asthma Retrieved October, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs307/en/    [2] Masoli, M. et al. (2004) The global burden of asthma: executive summary of the GINA Dissemination Committee report. Allergy, 59(5), 469-478. [3] Bateman ED. et al. (2007) Asthma and allergy - a global perspective. Allergy, 62(3), 213-215. [4] Silvestri M. et al. (1996) Sensitization to airborne allergens in children with respiratory symptoms. Annals Allergy Asthma & Immunology, 76(3), 239-244. [5] Kimata, H. (2004) Latex allergy in infants younger than 1 year. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 34(12), 1910-1915. [6] Admani S. et al. (2014) Allergic contact dermatitis in children: review of the past decade. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 14(4), 421. [7] FDA. (2016) Food Allergies: Decreasing the Risk. Retrieved 24 October, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm089307.htm [8] Bush, R., & Peden, D. (2009). Advances in environmental and occupational disorders in 2008. Journal Of Allergy And Clinical Immunology, 123(3), 575-578. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2009.01.062 [9] Okada H. et al. (2010) The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ for autoimmune and allergic diseases: an update. The Journal of Translational Immunology, 160(1), 1-9. [10] Brooks, C. et al. (2013) The hygiene hypothesis in allergy and asthma: an update. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 13(1), 70-77. [11] Reidler J. et al. (2000) Austrian children living on a farm have less hay fever, asthma and allergic sensitization. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 30(2), 194-200. [12] von Mutius E. et al. (2010) Farm Living: Effects on Childhood Asthma and Allergy. Nature, 10, 861-868. [13] Yazdanbakhsh, M. et al. (2002) Allergy, parasites, and the hygiene hypothesis. Science, 296(5567), 490-494. [14] Nickmilder, M., Carbonnelle, S., & Bernard, A. (2007). House cleaning with chlorine bleach and the risks of allergic and respiratory diseases in children. Pediatric Allergy And Immunology, 18(1), 27-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3038.2006.00487.x [15] Frei, R. et al. (2012) Microbiota and dietary interactions – an update to the hygiene hypothesis? Allergy, 67(4), 451-461. [16] Maslowski, KM. et al. (2011) Diet, gut microbiota and immune responses. Nature, 12, 5-9. [17] Stefka, AT. et al. (2014) Commensal bacteria protect against food allergen sensitization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 111(13145-13150). [18] Berni Canani, R. et al. (2015) The role of the commensal microbiota in the regulation of tolerance to dietary allergens. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology,15(3), 243-249. [19] Donohue, KM. et al. (2013) Prenatal and postnatal bisphenol A exposure and asthma development among inner-city children. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,131(3), 736-742. [20] Stelmach, I. et al. (2015) The effect of prenatal exposure to phthalates on food allergy and early eczema in inner-city children. Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, 36(4), 72-78.   [21] Vercelli, D. (2008). Discovering susceptibility genes for asthma and allergy. Nature Reviews Immunology, 8(3), 169-182. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nri2257 [22] Los, H., Postmus, P. E., & Boomsma, D. I. (2001). Asthma Genetics and Intermediate Phenotypes: A Review From Twin Studies. Twin Research, 4(2), 81–93. http://doi.org/10.1375/twin.4.2.81  
  3. Excessive sunlight exposure can cause health problems such as skin cancer, premature skin ageing, cataracts and immune system suppression.[1] This happens as sunlight, known to contain harmful UV rays, induces the formation of free radicals in the skin. The application of sun protection creams, or sunscreens, reduces these free radicals, suggesting their role as antioxidants.[2] While not free from side effects, the US Food and Drug Administration stated that the benefits from the use of sunscreen outweigh the risks.[3] It is well known that sunlight induces the generation of vitamin D in human skin (which is known for multiple positive health effects), and recent studies have discovered that the application of sunscreens doesn’t block the synthesis of this crucial vitamin.[4] Sunscreen creams can be either chemical or physical. Chemical sunscreens absorb sunlight and transform the UV rays into much safer light or heat energies. Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, scatter or reflect sunlight.[2] Depending on their composition, sunscreen products can also present both features to maximise their efficacy.[5] Some creams may contain preservatives, alcohol or fragrances and, as recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should be avoided by people with skin allergies.[6] “Sun protection factor” (SPF) is a measurement used to describe how effective a sunscreen is in protecting against sunlight.[7] The value represents a ratio between the amount of sunlight needed to cause sunburn in people who use the sunscreen as compared to those without. A higher value does represent better protection, but the protective effect does not increase in a linear fashion. For instance, SPF 15 protects against 93.3% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 protects against 96.7% of UVB rays, and SPF 45 protects against 97.8% of UVB rays.[8] It is also important to note that SPF is related to the intensity of the sunlight exposure rather than its duration.[9] Therefore, time of the day, geographical factors and weather are all important elements that need to be considered before deciding what sunscreen should be used. Various chemicals in sunscreen products have been associated with adverse effects. Para-aminobenzoic acid, despite banned in today’s manufacturing practice, might still be found in older-made products, and can cause severe allergic rashes, acne and blisters.[7][10] A skin condition called “photoallergic contact dermatitis” can develop due to the use of octocrylene, benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone) and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane.[11] Laboratory studies also showed that benzophenone-3 might affect endocrine function,[12] but its concentration in sunscreen products is too low for a chemical to cause significant negative effects on health.[2] Certain chemical constituents found in sunscreens, such as benzophenone-3  and dioxybenzone, can also react with the chlorine found in swimming pools, reducing their efficacy and causing the chemicals to harm the skin.[13] Physical blockers in older sunscreens, such as zinc oxide, may block skin pores and cause acne. Newer sunscreens are made with nanoparticle physical blockers, so zinc oxide is hardly ever used today,[2] but the issue with nanoparticles is that their toxicity risk has not been yet determined. Do sunscreens protect you from melanoma? EPA claims they do not,[5] and staying in the shade is the best protection. Some studies report increased rates of melanoma (a type of skin cancer) due to sunscreen use,[14] but this occurs as a result of more frequent sunbathing activities rather than being caused by the sunscreens themselves.[15] A comprehensive review carried out in 2003 analyzed articles from 1966 to 2003 about sunscreen and melanoma risk and found no such association.[16] It can thus be confirmed that overexposure to sunlight may increase the risk for melanoma, with or without sunscreens. The FDA states that applying 2mg/cm2 of sunscreen works best. Some studies have shown that many consumers apply insufficient amounts of sunscreen, with values ranging from 0.39 to 1.0 mg/cm2.[17] Sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours or when the sunscreen gets wiped or washed off the body.[2] Powdered and spray-on sunscreens should be avoided, as the micro-particulates contained in them might be inhaled, which can be hazardous. As for babies, getting away from the sun is the best protection. Since babies have higher surface-area to body-weight ratio, along with their less mature skin, their risk of getting the side effects from sunscreen use is higher.[18] Sunscreen use benefits clearly outweigh the dangers. However, we should always keep in mind that sunscreen application should not be a reason to stay longer in the sun; rather, it is a tool at our disposal to lower the risks from hazardous sunlight exposure. Despite scientific advances in the formulation of sunscreens, the best protection from the sun is to stay in the shade. It is also important to note that, according to the most recent studies, sunscreens do not help to prevent melanoma. Application of sunscreens on young children should also be limited, since they are more exposed to the side effects caused by toxic ingredients.  [1] Health Effects of UV Radiation | Sun Safety | US EPA. (2017). Epa.gov. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/health-effects-uv-radiation [2] Latha, M. S., Martis, J., Shobha, V., Sham Shinde, R., Bangera, S., Krishnankutty, B., … Naveen Kumar, B. R. (2013). Sunscreening Agents: A Review. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 6(1), 16–26. [3] Understanding Over-the-Counter Medicines. (2017). Fda.gov. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/default.htm  [4] Kannan, S., & Lim, H. (2014). Photoprotection and vitamin D: a review. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 30(2-3), 137-145. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/phpp.12096  [5] Lademann, J., Schanzer, S., Jacobi, U., Schaefer, H., Pflücker, F., & Driller, H. et al. (2005). Synergy effects between organic and inorganic UV filters in sunscreens. Journal Of Biomedical Optics, 10(1), 014008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.1854112  [6] Sunscreen: The Burning Facts. (2006) (1st ed.). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/sunscreen.pdf  [7] CDC - Sun Safety - Skin Cancer. (2017). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm  [8] Dale Wilson, Brummitte, Summer Moon, and Frank Armstrong. “Comprehensive Review of Ultraviolet Radiation and the Current Status on Sunscreens.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 5.9 (2012): 18–23. Print. [9] Sun Protection Factor (SPF). (2017). Fda.gov. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/centersoffices/officeofmedicalproductsandtobacco/cder/ucm106351.htm [10] Nash, J., & Tanner, P. (2014). Relevance of UV filter/sunscreen product photostability to human safety. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 30(2-3), 88-95. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/phpp.12113 [11] A European multicentre photopatch test study. (2012). British Journal Of Dermatology, 166(5), 1002-1009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2012.10857.x [12] Kim, S., & Choi, K. (2014). Occurrences, toxicities, and ecological risks of benzophenone-3, a common component of organic sunscreen products: A mini-review. Environment International, 70, 143-157. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2014.05.015 [13] Sherwood, V., Kennedy, S., Zhang, H., Purser, G., & Sheaff, R. (2012). Altered UV absorbance and cytotoxicity of chlorinated sunscreen agents. Cutaneous And Ocular Toxicology, 31(4), 273-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/15569527.2011.647181 [14] Bastuji-Garin, S., & Diepgen, T. (2002). Cutaneous malignant melanoma, sun exposure, and sunscreen use: epidemiological evidence. British Journal Of Dermatology, 146(s61), 24-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2133.146.s61.9.x [15] Westerdahl, J., Ingvar, C., Måsbäck, A., & Olsson, H. (2000). Sunscreen use and malignant melanoma. International Journal Of Cancer, 87(1), 145-150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1097-0215(20000701)87:1<145::aid-ijc22>3.0.co;2-3 [16] Dennis, L. (2003). Sunscreen Use and the Risk for Melanoma: A Quantitative Review. Annals Of Internal Medicine, 139(12), 966. http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-139-12-200312160-00006 [17] Petersen, B., & Wulf, H. (2014). Application of sunscreen − theory and reality. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 30(2-3), 96-101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/phpp.12099 [18] Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually. (2017). Fda.gov. Retrieved 10 April 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm309136.htm  
  4. Latex (a natural rubber) is produced from the sap of the Brazilian rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis).[1] Latex is used in the manufacture of a wide range of everyday products: medical devices including gloves, intravenous tubes and catheters; clothing including elastic and underwear; children’s products including baby bottle nipples and pacifiers; personal care items including condoms and diaphragms; office and school supplies including rubber bands erasers and paint.[1] When a person is sensitive to a specific protein contained in the raw material (sap) of latex an allergic response may occur.[2] Allergic reactions to other latex components and/or other chemicals used in the manufacturing process are also a risk.[1][3] The amount of exposure necessary to cause an allergic reaction is not quantified, but the more frequent the exposure the greater the risk. The severity of the allergic reaction ranges from a skin rash to shock and in rare cases even to death.[4] The Finnish study showed that among all symptoms contact urticaria (a kind of skin rash) had been observed in 75% of latex allergy patients, conjunctivitis (pink eye) in 22%, rhinitis (inflammation inside the nose) in 15%, asthma or dyspnoea in 3% and severe systemic reactions in 8%.[5]   Determining the prevalence of latex sensitivity is difficult, but it is thought that <1% of the general population is reported to be prone to a reaction.[6] This increases to 12% among health professionals and more than 1,700 cases were reported to the FDA between 1988 and 2014.[7] This increase in latex allergies is thought to be a result of the vast increase in the use of latex gloves, which are now universally used by healthcare workers as a precaution against the spread of HIV and hepatitis B.[8] It is also known that the one of the largest sources of latex aeroallergens is in the surgical setting.[9] However there is also widespread use of latex gloves in all areas of the food and care industries. Their use in supermarkets, for example, may bring an indirect food additive by the transfer of latex proteins to the handled food.[10]  The increase in latex sensitivity presents a challenge in the face of increasing latex use, particularly within the healthcare system. The initial step following the appearance of allergic symptoms is to avoid any further contact with latex until a medical evaluation has been completed. Consideration must be given to both patients and staff but elimination of the risk of bloodborne pathogens is still paramount.[9] There is a correlation between the use of high-allergen and powdered gloves, the number of gloves used, the time spent in a latex-containing environment (such as a surgical suite) and aeroallergen levels.[9] To combat latex allergy, a more than 10-fold reduction of aeroallergens can be achieved by changing to non -powdered, low allergen gloves.[9] The provision of non-latex gloves should also be encouraged and utilised. Whilst the likelihood of a completely latex free surgical environment is unlikely, every effort should be made to reduce exposure for both staff and patients.[9] With respect to those who directly handle food, the use of latex gloves should be totally avoided, replacing them with alternative materials with lower incidence of allergy including nitrile, polyvinyl chloride, neoprene.[11] For individuals who suffered from severe latex allergies in the past there is available medical alert identificator designed as wearable bracelet, necklace or keychain. Patients may also utilize prescribed epinephrine self-injection pen in case of severe reaction occurrence.[6] To lower the frequency of unexpected severe cases of latex allergies FDA has also recommended to avoid labelling products as “latex-free” due to the fact that there are no actual tests available for reliable determination of latex rubber. And still the product labeled as “latex-free” doesn’t mean it has no allergen proteins.[12]   The increasing prevalence of latex sensitivity seen today, particularly amongst healthcare workers, cannot be disputed. The solution is to use a safe alternative whenever possible, however latex gloves are still often preferred due to better sensitivity to touch and lower price. Manufacturers should also assist by changing manufacturing methods so that even latex gloves contain minimum levels of allergenic proteins. [1] Cabañes, N., Igea, J., & de la Hoz, B. (2012). Latex Allergy: Position Paper. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol, 22(5), 313-330. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23101306  [2] Yeang, H., Cheong, K., Sunderasan, E., Hamzah, S., Chewa, N., & Hamidb, S. et al. (1996). The 14.6 kd rubber elongation factor (Hev b 1) and 24 kd (Hev b 3) rubber particle proteins are recognized by IgE from patients with spina bifida and latex allergy. Journal Of Allergy And Clinical Immunology, 98(3), 628-639. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0091-6749(96)70097-0 [3] Guidance for Industry and FDA Reviewers/Staff: Premarket Notification [510(k)] Submissions for Testing for Skin Sensitization To Chemicals In Natural Rubber Products. (1999). Fda.gov. Retrieved 19 October 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/ucm073792.htm [4] Warshaw, E. (2003). Latex Allergy. Skinmed, 2(6), 359-367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-9740.2003.02177.x [5] Turjanmaa, K., Alenius, H., Mäkinen-Kiljunen, S., Reunala, T., & Palosuo, T. (1996). Natural rubber latex allergy. Allergy, 51(9), 593-602. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1398-9995.1996.tb04678.x [6] Pollart, S., Warniment, C., & Mori, T. (2009). Latex allergy. Am Fam Physician, 80(12), 1413-8. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20000303 [7] Latex Allergy Information. (2017). Health.ny.gov. Retrieved 19 October 2017, from https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/food_safety/latex/ [8] Caballero, M., & Quirce, S. (2015). Identification and practical management of latex allergy in occupational settings. Expert Review Of Clinical Immunology, 11(9), 977-992. http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/1744666x.2015.1059754 [9] Elliott, B. (2002). Latex allergy: The perspective from the surgical suite. Journal Of Allergy And Clinical Immunology, 110(2), S117-S120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1067/mai.2002.125594 [10] Beezhold, D., Reschke, J., Allen, J., Kostyal, D., & Sussman, G. (2000). Latex Protein: A Hidden "Food" Allergen?. Allergy And Asthma Proceedings, 21(5), 301-306. http://dx.doi.org/10.2500/108854100778248214 [11] Taylor, J., & Erkek, E. (2004). Latex allergy: diagnosis and management. Dermatologic Therapy, 17(4), 289-301. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1396-0296.2004.04024.x [12] Don't be Misled by "Latex Free" Claims. (2015). Fda.gov. Retrieved 19 October 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm342641.htm