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Allergy Awareness Week

26th Apr, 2017

Allergy Awareness Week

Nearly half of British adults suffer from at least one allergy, and this figure is constantly on the rise. Between 2008 and 2009 alone, the number of allergy sufferers in the UK increased by 2 million!

Allergies can affect us in a variety of ways including: eczema, asthma, anaphylaxis and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Hay fever is something many of us suffer from, especially now the weather is starting to warm up and the flowers are in pollination. Did you know, hay fever can account for as many as 16.7 million global doctors’ visits a year!

As this week is Allergy Awareness Week, we thought we would bring to attention the different ways you can be affected by an allergy and how the symptoms can be helped (along with some crazy allergy facts!).

Eczema

  • Eczema is a dry skin condition that can cause itchiness and discomfort. In severe cases, the skin can split, weep or even bleed. Although eczema can be hereditary, it’s often a result of an allergic reaction.
  • Between 15-20% of school-aged children and 2-10% of adults in the UK will be affected by Eczema at some point in their life.
  • Treatments: emollients, topical steroids, change of diet, antibiotic creams, ointments, bandages to protect skin and lock in moisture.

Asthma

  • Asthma is a condition that affects the airways. Those who have asthma may experience symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath when encountering something their body doesn’t like. It can be hereditary or caused by factors such as premature birth, allergies (causes roughly 80% of cases), regularly being around smokers as a child, or even because of a woman’s hormones before and after menopause.
  • 5.4 million People in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma – that’s 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12). (Source: Asthma UK, 2017)
  • Treatments: various types of inhalers, steroid tablets, complementary therapies such as hay fever tablets or the flu vaccination.

Anaphylaxis

  • Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can cause someone’s airways to close. It can also affect the heart, circulation, gut or skin. Symptoms typically start within seconds of being exposed to the sufferer’s trigger and usually progress rapidly.
  • Common allergies that can cause anaphylaxis include: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, fish, sesame seeds, kiwi fruit and more.
  • Anaphylaxis reactions occur in approximately 1 in 1000 of the general population.
  • Treatment: pre-loaded auto-injector filled with adrenaline (referred to in some countries as epinephrine).

Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)

  • Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, which can come from the likes of trees, grass or weeds. Symptoms can include: sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes or various types of headaches. Sadly, for those of you who get hay fever, experts say that 2017 is set to be the worst year ever for sufferers as apparently, we’re going to see a new super pollen!
  • Hay fever affects up to one in five people at some point in their life.
  • Treatments: hay fever/allergy tablets, Vaseline around the nose to trap pollen, sun glasses to stop pollen going in the eyes, stay indoors where possible. For more great tips to help hay fever, click here.

If you’re a pharmacist and your speciality is helping people with symptoms such as these, make sure you look at our pharmacist jobs (we’re the UK’s number one supplier of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and ATOs)! We also have a great selection of dietitian jobs for those who work with people with special dietary requirements.