Why are allergies increasing?

Curr Opin Immunol. 2001 Dec;13(6):701-8. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(01)00282-5.


The incidence of atopic allergy is increasing in certain 'Western' countries but this remains unexplained. Various hypotheses with differing amounts of evidence and/or relevance have been assessed, including increased awareness of the diseases, improved diagnostics, genetic susceptibility, psycho-social influences, allergen exposure, decreased immune-system stimulation, underlying disease, anti-allergic therapy and pollution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Pollution / adverse effects
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / genetics
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Infections / complications
  • Models, Immunological
  • Prevalence
  • Social Change


  • Allergens