The Allergy Epidemic

  • Kathleen Grisanti
  • Mitchell H. Grayson


Globally, millions of people suffer from allergic diseases, and evidence suggests the prevalence is increasing. This chapter reviews data supporting an “allergy epidemic” demonstrating the increase in atopic disease over the last 50 years. Overall, this trend is evident in Westernized societies, while non-Westernized societies appear to be less affected. Currently it is unclear what is driving this allergy epidemic; however many hypotheses have been developed, including the hygiene, barrier regulation, and microbiome hypotheses. These hypotheses will all be discussed in this chapter. Developing a better understanding of the mechanisms driving atopic disease will lead to novel approaches for disease modification and prevention.


Allergic rhinitis Atopic dermatitis Food allergy Asthma Allergy epidemic Prevalence Hygiene hypothesis Microbiome hypothesis Barrier hypothesis Viral hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Grisanti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mitchell H. Grayson
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and ImmunologyNationwide Children’s Hospital – The Ohio State University College of MedicineColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology, Division of Allergy and ImmunologyThe Ohio State University College of MedicineColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and ImmunologyNationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University College of MedicineColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Center for Clinical and Translational ResearchThe Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s HospitalColumbusUSA

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