According to Allergy UK, one in four people in the UK suffers from an allergy at some point in their lives. The numbers are increasing every year and up to half of those affected are children.
Allergy UK will be running a series of awareness days between 28th April and 4th May to draw attention to this common concern, highlighting the issues faced by those with allergies, designed to get people talking about allergies at key times throughout the year when it’s most common.
More than 20% of people in the UK suffer from hay fever. The allergens may be dust, animal fur/hair or pollen (the main allergen of hay fever). The symptoms of hay fever include a persistent aggravating cough, sore streaming eyes, a runny nose and sore throat.
It’s not unsual for a person’s social and work life to be affected. Productivity can fall due to restless nights and an inability to concentrate at work. In more extreme cases, allergies can cause a person to remain housebound for long periods of time.
There are other common allergies too such as those of dust, pets, medicines, nuts, fish and dairy foods like milk and eggs.
So why does an allergy develop?
It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen as though it is a threat, like an infection. It produces antibodies to fight off the allergen, in a reaction called the “immune response”.
So how can we help to look after ourselves if we have an allergy?
Stay away from the allergen that affects you and ensure you take the correct medication. Most commonly antihistamine’s treat allergies by blocking the action of the chemical histamine naturally occurring in the body. Antihistamines can be taken in tablet, cream or liquid form, or as eye drops or nasal sprays – so there is something to suit everyone.
The Awareness Week also aims to raise awareness about other conditions including Asthma and Eczema whose symptoms can be triggered or made worse by certain allergens.
For more information and support on Allergies visit www.allergyuk.org