Risk factors for allergy can be placed in two general categories namely host and environmental factors. Host factors include heredity, sex, race, and age, with heredity being by far the most significant.
Genetic basis - Allergic parents are more likely to have allergic children, and their allergies are likely to be more severe than those from non-allergic parents. Some allergies, however, are not consistent along genealogies.
Hygiene Hypothesis - Individuals living in too sterile an environment are not exposed to enough pathogens to keep the immune system busy so if they expose themselves to any allergic substance they become allergic.
Environmental factors - Allergic diseases are more common in industrialized countries than in countries that are more traditional or agricultural, and there is a higher rate of allergic disease in urban populations versus rural populations.
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