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Due to the many common stresses in our environments, there are many types of disease capable of afflicting humans, with allergies being one of the most common. According to the statistics from the US, the proportion of allergic asthma patients worldwide is increasing year by year. In North America, 10% of the population suffers from some form of asthma(1). Studies at the Department of Pediatrics in National Taiwan University also showed that the incidence of allergies in children over the last twenty years had steadily increased by more than 8-fold. Studies show that if one of a child's parents has an allergic condition, the likelihood of that child developing an allergic condition is around 33%. If both parents have an allergic condition, the likelihood of their children developing allergic conditions increases to about 66%. If both parents have allergic conditions, and their first child has allergic conditions due to heredity, the likelihood that the next child will also have allergic conditions will be close 100%(2).

What are allergies? Allergies occur when the immune system over reacts to a substance that is usually harmless and generally possesses no threat of infection. Substances that cause allergic reactions are known as allergens. Examples of allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander and even certain common foods such as peanuts. When these allergens interact with the immune system, they cause edema and inflammation in various tissues and organs. Allergic reactions also can cause smooth muscles to contract and spasm. When these allergic reactions occur in different parts of the body, they often cause different diseases; the most common include asthma, allergic rhinitis, skin allergies (ectopic dermatitis, urticaria), and allergic conjunctivitis(3).

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