07. 10. 12. - 15:18
Fast food and clean homes to blame for allergy increase
Paediatricians at Vienna's Medical University have raised the alarm about an increase of a third in the number of child allergy sufferers - blaming fast food and excessive hygiene.
The experts say that the allergies are a growing problem for children and even food allergies are on the increase, as well as the more common allergies such as asthma, eczema and hay fever.
They estimate that one in every five children in Europe now suffers from an allergy and it's getting worse.
Professor Dr Zsolt Szepfalusi from the Vienna uni who raised the alarm about the problem said: "One possible cause is that people are deciding far too early on to have a clean and hygienic life.
"The so-called hygiene hypothesis is that a certain amount of dirt is healthy and tends to protect one from allergies."
But the medics also say that current diet may also be to blame. He said: "We have much more pasteurised and cooked food stuffs. This fast food industry didn't exist 20 years ago on such a scale and that has certainly had a strong influence on our digestive process - and in particular in the development of allergies."
He added that parents who believe that children have an allergy should get medical advice as soon as possible because early treatment means a better chance of an effective treatment.