Around 20-30 per cent of India’s population was affected with one or more allergic diseases which were increasing, according to ‘White Book on Allergy’ brought out by the World Allergy Organisation (WAO).

The book brought out in 2011 gave a “quick look” of allergic disease prevalence trends in different countries.

It mentioned that asthma and rhinitis were reported to be 1-10 per cent respectively in 1964 in India, but recent reports suggest asthma varying from 3-14 per cent and rhinitis as more than 20 per cent.

While listing major (indoor/outdoor) environmental pollutants that are implicated in the development or exacerbation of allergic diseases, it said : In India woods and cow’s dung are still used in rural areas as fuel and cause heavy smoke leading to triggers of allergy and asthma. Other pollutants such as SO2 and NO2 are reported to be aggravating factors. Major allergens involved in allergic diseases, including pollens, were also mentioned.

Referring to treatment and training with regard to allergy care, it said that allergy/ clinical immunology was not recognised as a separate specialty and physicians from paediatrics, pulmonology, dermatology, general medicine and other branches are briefly trained in allergy diagnosis and immunology

On the enhancements required for improved patient care, it said allergy needs to be part of the graduate and postgraduate curriculum in medical institutions in India.