“The latest surveys show that the rates of allergy are increasing throughout the world, affecting up to 30-35% of people at some stage in their lives.”
The development of allergies in people is on the increase. Perhaps you’re a parent, grandparent or carer, worried about an allergy in your child or baby, or maybe you’re worried about managing your own allergies. Whatever your circumstances – you’re not alone. It is estimated that allergies and intolerances now affect an estimated 21 million people in the UK.
Allergy Awareness Week takes place this month, from 20th-26th April and we want to play our part in ensuring as many people as possible learn how to spot allergies and what to do if an allergic reaction occurs. If you think someone is suffering an allergic reaction, you can call NHS 111 for further advice. If someone is having a serious allergic reaction and it’s an emergency please call 999.
What is an allergic reaction?
Allergic reactions can take many different forms and affect different parts of the body, but the most common reactions include:
- diarrhoea or vomiting
- a cough
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- itchy throat and tongue
- itchy skin or rash
- swollen lips and throat
- runny or blocked nose
- sore, red and itchy eyes
In the event of an extreme allergic reaction, commonly referred to as anaphylaxsis, a quick response is required to ensure the reaction is brought under control.
So where can you go and who can you talk to if you’re worried about allergies?
If you are a parent or carer concerned about any kind of allergic reaction in your child, or you’d like more information on managing your own allergies, there are a number of health services and a wealth of information you can access. If you’re worried, you can:
- Go online and visit Allergy UK – the leading UK national allergy charity who provide support and guidance to everyone who suffers from various allergies and intolerances. Their network of support includes a dedicated helpline, and online forum enabling you to discuss specific concerns with others who may be suffering from the same or similar allergies.
- Talk to your GP – the advantage here is that your GP is familiar with your medical background and history and will be able to draw upon a number of factors to help reach a decision about how best to diagnose and treat your allergy or intolerance.
- Visit NHS Choices – a dedicated page on allergies is available providing everything you need to know from detailed overviews of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment to a real stories section, exploring how others have learnt to cope with and manage their allergies through the course of their lives.