Respiratory Allergy

sick adult

1 in 4 French people suffer from respiratory allergy. This figure has been increasing for 30 years. Respiratory allergies are more and more common: modern lifestyle, exposure to pollution, tobacco, irritants and pollutants, allergens are probably the cause of this increase. Today, respiratory allergy concerns us all, whether we are personally affected or whether it is one of our relatives. The two main forms of respiratory allergy are allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.

Allergic rhinitis


Sneezing, runny nose, coughing or crying eyes may be signs of a common cold, but also allergic rhinitis. Whether it happens in the spring or it lasts all year, allergic rhinitis is recognized by very particular signs. The point is to know how to identify them.

Your doctor will help you find out if your symptoms are related to an allergy or not.

Do not hesitate to consult if:

  • Your nose and / or your palate scratches
  • Your nose is flowing (light color)
  • Your nose is clogged
  • You sneeze frequently
  • In case of loss of smell

The 2 types of rhinitis : 
ALLERGIC RHINITIS “PERSISTENT”: over 4 days a week and 4 weeks a year. It is due to allergens that are found all the time in our environment. 
ALLERGIC RHINITIS “INTERMITTENT”: less than 4 days a week or 4 weeks a year. It is mainly related to pollens arriving in the spring.

25 %

1 in 4 teenagers or adults under 50 are affected by allergic rhinitis

The allergens involved

  • mites
  • Animals
  • Cockroaches or roaches
  • Indoor plants (ficus)
  • molds
  • Tree pollen (cypress, birch, plane trees)
  • Grass pollen (cocksfoot, timothy, rye grass, wheat, oats, reeds, corn, weeds, grass, turf …)
  • Herbaceous plants (ragweed, sagebrush, plantain, parietaria …)

The results

When allergic rhinitis is not properly managed, its consequences on daily life are important and result in:
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Concentration problems
  • Disruptions in professional, family or social life
Allergic rhinitis is too often poorly managed. The allergic, often fatalistic, “lives with his illness” and heals on demand, without necessarily consulting his doctor. This is because, as they evolve, the symptoms affect their quality of life on a daily basis, when the patient finally consults a specialist. After, on average, 7 years of medical wandering [1] !

Allergic asthma


Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the bronchi (ducts that bring air to the lungs) that overreact to stimulation. Asthma is manifested by seizures that cause:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath after an effort or a laugh
  • Wheezing
  • A feeling of choking (tightness in the chest)
  • A dry and irritating cough

If asthma is not well managed, it can get worse.

The bronchi become inflammatory, contract, become encumbered with mucus, while their walls thicken. This results in significant breathing difficulty because the air can no longer circulate normally in the bronchi. This is called bronchoconstriction.

4 %

More than 4 million people are asthmatic in France

In an asthmatic person, seizures can be caused by various factors:

  • Allergies (this is called allergic asthma)
  • Respiratory infections
  • Irritating substances for bronchi, including tobacco
  • Pollutants
  • Cold
  • Some medicines
  • Emotions, stress …

Between attacks, asthma is often silent and breathing is normal. It may occur only at certain times (intermittent asthma) or be present all year (persistent asthma).

The allergens involved

In case of allergic asthma, the allergens most frequently involved are:

  • Acarians
  • The molds
  • Animals
  • Cockroaches or roaches
  • Indoor plants like ficus benjamina
  • Pollen

The results

When not properly cared for, allergic asthma has important consequences for everyday life:

  • General impairment of quality of life due to activity limitation
  • School absenteeism
  • Hospitalization during severe crises
  • Social life, hobbies, sometimes disturbed sexual activity

Fully controlled asthma, however, allows an asthmatic person (and by extension to his entourage) to lead a social and family life without constraint related to the disease . She can play sports, sleep well, go on vacation … Her quality of life is improved.

Allergic conjunctivitis


Allergic conjunctivitis can be caused by pollen, some products such as eye drops, dust, etc. It is not contagious. This allergic manifestation is often associated with others (rhinitis or asthma).

Conjunctivitis is characterized by:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Eyes crying

The allergens involved

  • mites
  • Animal hair and feathers
  • Colorful flowers or bulb plants
  • Some cosmetics
  • Etc.

[1] Demoly P et al. The supply of care in allergology in 2011. French review of allergology. 51 (2011) 64-72.