Rhinitis and asthma top the list of respiratory diseases among Brazilians

About 30% of Brazilians suffer from respiratory allergies, according to the Brazilian Association of Allergy and Immunology (Asbai). The problem, which impairs the quality of life, is marked by uncomfortable symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, wheezing, dry cough and shortness of breath, among others.

Dr. Cristiane Passos Dias Levy, otolaryngologist at Paulista Hospital, warns of the importance of preventing respiratory allergies.

According to the World Allergy Organization, rhinitis affects between 30 and 40% of the world’s population, while asthma is considered a major health problem worldwide. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Health indicates that more than 20 million Brazilians suffer from asthma.

Dr. Cristiane states that respiratory allergy is an increased immune system response to allergenic substances, pointing out that inhalants are the most common. “They enter the body through the respiratory tract. Some of the main causes include dust mites, dust, fungi, animal hair and flower pollens.

As with most pathologies, children have a greater predisposition to develop a certain type of allergy. However, people with a family history and adults are not exempt from the disease.


Considered by the Ministry of Health as the most common disease among respiratory diseases, rhinitis is characterized by inflammation of the nasal mucosa, which reproduces an exaggerated response of the immune system to certain substances.

Nasal obstruction, watery rhinorrhea (runny nose), frequent sneezing, and itchy nose or eyes are some of the main symptoms of the problem.


Identified by wheezing, dry cough and shortness of breath, asthma is defined as a chronic respiratory disease characterized by inflammation of the airways, obstruction of the airways and bronchial hyperreactivity – a sensitivity that determines an exaggerated ability to react to certain substances to which the patient is allergic – resulting in recurrent episodes.

“In Brazil alone, the disease affects around 20% of children and adolescents”, underlines the specialist.

According to Dr. Cristiane, asthma can be allergic or not, the most common being that triggered by inhaled allergens.


To properly treat respiratory allergy, it is necessary for an allergist doctor to study the cause and indicate the use of specific medications for the problem. Among the treatment options is specific immunotherapy, carried out on the basis of an allergen vaccine.

“It increases the immunity of the individual, so that he has less sensitivity to these substances”, explains the doctor.

The therapy consists of administering several doses, progressive and more and more concentrated, of the extracts of the substances that cause the allergy, administered at regular intervals and for a certain time, which can vary from one to five years, until the patient develops resistance to the cause of the allergy.

“The treatment acts on the immune system, leading to allergen tolerance and reducing symptoms and the need for medication. It remains the only one capable of modifying the allergic disease, providing long-lasting benefits after its cessation”, emphasizes Dr. Christian.

Other treatments are based on symptom reduction, increasing the patient’s quality of life, such as nasal washout with saline solutions, which has been used as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of acute and chronic nasal disorders.

“Because it is inexpensive, convenient and well tolerated, it has become widely available. The use of these solutions facilitates the evacuation of secretions and promotes the relief of patients’ symptoms,” he recalls.

The specialist concludes by warning that, for both rhinitis and asthma, basic care consists of keeping the home environment clean so as not to accumulate dust and dust mites and drinking plenty of water, even on daily the coldest.

About Paulista Hospital of Otorhinolaryngology

Founded in 1974, the Paulista de Otorrinolaringologia Hospital has more than 40 years of tradition in the specialized care of the ear, nose and throat and during its trajectory it has extended its skills to other segments, with an emphasis on Speech Therapy, Respiratory Allergies and Immunology, Sleep Disorders, Head and Neck Surgery procedures, as well as Buco Maxillofacial.

In a privileged location, 300 meters from Hospital São Paulo station (line 5-Lilac) and 800 meters from Santa Cruz station (line 1-Blue/line 5-Lilac), it has 42 beds, ICU (unit intensive care) and 10 operating rooms, carrying out an average of 500 surgeries per month, 7,500 outpatient and emergency consultations and around 1,500 specialized examinations.

Reference in its segment and with high resolution, it has a complete center of diagnostic medicine in otolaryngology, as well as an outpatient clinic of smell and taste, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with total or partial loss of senses. It has high-capacity professionals offering excellent conditions for specialized assistance 24 hours a day.

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