Allergy and Atopy Is Not a Disease of Civilization

Do you think that allergy is a disease of civilization? If so, you're wrong. Such conditions have existed for a long time, but people probably did not pay attention to them. How important was a runny nose compared to the deadly plague epidemic or pneumonic plague? Allergies were also confused with other diseases (e.g., asthma with tuberculosis), or generally, people with allergies were said to be "sickly."

The first known victim of allergies was the Egyptian Pharaoh Menes, who died about 3100 BC. The hieroglyphic inscription on his grave says that he died shortly after the wasp bite.flying bee


Allergies must have been bothering the other ancient civilizations, as well. Hippocrates described asthma in his works in the fifth century BC. He also noted the relationship between the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders and urticaria and the consumption of cow's milk. Similar observations were made by Dioskurides in the first century CE, calling such a reaction "idiosyncrasy."

Romans also suffered from Asthma and allergies. The most famous allergic individual of antiquity with the whole triad of atopic diseases and a positive family history of atopy probably was Emperor Octavianus Augustus. AugustusAnother report from ancient history is that of Britannicus, the son of the Roman Emperor Claudius. He was allergic to horses and "would develop a rash and his eyes swelled to the extent that he could not see where he was going." Accordingly, the honor of riding at the head of the young patricians fell to Nero who was Claudius’ adopted son. Nero allegedly threw Christians to the lions and killed Britannicus.

We can find descriptions of the symptoms of asthma and the recommended methods of its treatment in the medical treaties of Celsus and Aretaeus from Cappadocia from the 1st century AD.

It would seem that the Middle Ages, as a "dirty" age, an epidemic era, has nothing to do with allergies. Well, no. In the twelfth century, a Jewish scholar, philosopher, and doctor called Maimonides (accurately: Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon) accurately described it in his letter..... Maimonides

King Richard IIIKing Richard III used his allergy to strawberries to good effect in arranging the judicial murder of Lord William Hastings. The King surreptitiously ate some strawberries prior to giving an audience to Hastings and promptly developed acute urticaria. He then accused Hastings of putting a curse on him, an action that demanded the head of Hastings on a plate. stroberries

From the modern era comes a lot of information about ailments, which today we would easily call "atopic." In 1511, the first known case of allergic rhinitis was noted. The Roman cardinal Oliviero Carafa placed guards in his palace, who were to make sure that no one brought roses to his chambers. Today we know that such cases rarely occur because the symptoms of sensitization most often concern species of wind-plant plants and not insects (like roses).

In the 1770s, the autopsy of asthmatics was performed - imagine that it was already at that time that the disease was inflammatory 😉 Jean-Paul Marat is probably the first known case of the AD (Atopic Dermatitis). It is understood that he suffered from a chronic skin disease, the symptoms of which were soothed only by frequent baths (poor man, in his time there was no Protopic or steroid). As we know from history, during such a bath, he was killed - do not think, however (I am addressing this phrase to atopics and those who do not like to wash), that it frees you from washing yourself. 😉

John BostockThe nineteenth century has come. Age of significant progress in medicine. In 1819, John Bostock, an English doctor who was particularly interested in the subject of allergic diseases, presented the British Royal Medical Association with a paper on hay fever. Since then, the well-known English name for this disease "hay fever" has also been adopted because it was thought that the symptoms are caused by hay. Since then, English doctors have often recognized hay fever. The first hospitalization for allergic rhinitis was recorded in 1830. In turn, the first allergic skin tests were carried out by Charles Blackley (1820-1900) in 1869, in Manchester. The British doctor applied small drops of various pollen solutions to the skin of his hand and then scrubbed those places. His experiment gave grounds to claim that contact with pollen can cause hay fever.

The real breakthrough in allergy research was the work of the French, physiologist Charles Richet (1850-1935) and zoologist Paul Portier (1866-1962) under the title: "On the anaphylactic action of certain toxins" published in 1902. The subject of this work were the results of research carried out by scientists in 1901 during an oceanographic expedition across the Atlantic aboard the yacht of Prince Albert I of Monaco.


Researchers, studying the toxins of venomous jellyfish, injected them into dogs to make them immunize to this poison. A dog named Neptune had an anaphylactic reaction. Initially, after administration of the toxin, the dog felt good without any bad results. After three weeks, he was injected with another dose of toxin that caused complications. "A few seconds after the injection, the dog fell seriously ill, breathed with difficulty and coughing. He could not stand on his feet, lay aside, got diarrhea and bloody vomit. He lost his sensitivity and died in 25 minutes "- reported Richet. Checking similar reactions in other subjects confirmed the occurrence of an "anaphylactic reaction." Anaphylaxis was considered the opposite of prophylaxis and introduced to medicine by Charles Richet. For his achievements Richet in 1913 received the Nobel Prize in the field of medicine and physiology. 1906 is another milestone in the history of allergy.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of the 20th century, the view was maintained that hay fever, asthma, and eczema are caused by "neurotic factors and are the result of collective hysteria."

The Viennese pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet (1874-1929) noticed that in children at the second or next contact with the allergen, a very violent tissue reaction develops. He was the first to use the term "allergy". He called this a strange, unrelated to the primary disease, symptoms in a child who was twice injected with streptococcus anatoxin obtained from horse serum.

In 1948, an adrenal hormone called cortisone was isolated at the Kendall laboratory in Rochester, USA. It was soon discovered that it has anti-inflammatory effects. From now on, cortisone and its derivatives (known as corticosteroids) have been used to treat atopic diseases (asthma, atopic dermatitis, and rhinitis). A little earlier, because the adrenaline was discovered in the interwar period, it was also used to treat asthma. Today, it is mainly used for the treatment of anaphylactic shocks, and adrenaline-like activity is demonstrated by today's beta-metabolism.

Current Western Medicine has better treatments and more knowledge about atopic diseases. Use of steroids and immunosuppressants in the treatment of Atopic Dermatitis is widespread. However, because these therapies have serious side effects, people are also turning to traditional homeopathic methods.



Author: velvet; Article published July 22, 2008 (last modification November 19, 2016) by

This article was found on the Polish website Curated and translated by Alina Cosmetics


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