Dust allergy is the most common allergy in India, triggering reaction in four of five of 5,400 people tested for allergies from across the country. Data of allergy tests at Dr Lal PathLabs shows that 80.3 % people tested were allergic to dust mites.
Allergy triggers in India are quite different from the West. “While dust mites cause 80 % of all allergies in India, dust is the second common allergen in the US and Europe, where pollen allergy accounts for 20 % of allergies,” says Dr Arvind Lal, CMD, Dr Lal PathLabs, which collected samples from its 650 collection centres across India.
Many people were sensitive to more than one allergen, showed data from allergy test results conducted between January 2005 and June 2008. As many as 27.6 % had grass allergy (the allergen being Bermuda grass), 21 % were allergic to one or more foods such as peanuts, chocolate, soyabean, rice, wheat, fish, shrimp and milk. While 19.6 % people had mould allergy (caused by aspergillus and alternaria fungi).
Allergy symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat and eyes, headache, sinus pain or ear pain. Allergies in adults are treated with antihistamines, antileukotrienes and nasal corticosteroid sprays to reduce inflammation; oral immuno-therapy vaccination; and a series of allergy shots for the resistant cases.