Objectives: To determine incidence of perceived allergies, causes and management, of disorders associated with allergies at household level in Ilala district.
Method: A cross sectional study was conducted in Ilala district involving a total of 400 households randomly selected 8 wards out of 22 wards in the district and head of the household interviewed using a structured questionnaire.
Results: Of the household members interviewed, 66.8% being females, about 60.0% reported to be allergic to different substances. Food 16.7%, animal dander and fur 15.4%, pollen 13.3%, house dust 11.7%, medicines 8.3%, cosmetics 5.8, and plants 6.3% were the most common causes of allergy within the households. Most individuals were not aware of the source of allergy. Only few (40.4%) respondents had some knowledge about allergy, and they acquired the information through different sources such as mass media, school, friends, other families etc. In terms of prevention, 39.2% knew how the allergies could be prevented, and 41.2% had knowledge on appropriate medicines for the control and treatment of different allergic symptoms. Skin allergies 35.9%, respiratory allergies 13.3%, and allergies of the eye 10.8% were observed to be the most common complains.
Conclusion: The study shows high prevalence of perceived allergy disorders in the community associated with poor understanding on the possible causes and preventive measures. This highlights the need conduct public education to raise awareness on allergy with a focus on causes and avoidance of exposure to allergens to mitigate effects of allergy in the society.