World Allergy Week
Do you often find yourself scratching when wearing wool, sneezing at the height of the Summer or breaking out into a rash when eating a specific food? Well you are one of almost 50% of the adult population in the UK that lives with an allergy.
Today marks the start of World Allergy Week which aims to raise awareness of the different types of allergies that are common in today’s society. An allergy is the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollen’s, foods and house dust mite. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a ’threat’ and produces an inappropriate response (www.allergyUK.org)
What Types of Allergies are there?
There are 4 main categories of allergies:
- Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
What Causes an Allergic Reaction?
We all respond differently when we come into contact with some of the most common causes of allergic reactions. They can even change as we grow older – in some cases, asthma and eczema have been known to completely disappear. Changes in our hormones can also affect our reactions – whilst pregnant, some women will find they are allergic to something they have never been before and this allergy will often (though not always) disappear when the baby is born.
Below are the most common types of ‘triggers’ that can cause an allergic reaction:
- pollen from trees and grasses
- proteins secreted from house dust mites
- foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs
- pets such as cats and dogs, and other furry or hairy animals such as horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
- insects such as wasps and bees
- medicines (these may cause reactions by binding to proteins in the blood, which then trigger the reaction)
Every individual is different, so allergies and their subsequent reactions can vary, even within a family unit where siblings may have the same allergy, but their reaction is completely different.
Allergic reactions can include:
- wheezing / coughing / shortness of breath
- sinus pain / runny nose
- nettle rash / hives
- itchy eyes, ears, lips throat and mouth
- sickness, vomiting & diarrhoea
Find Out More About Allergies
If you or a loved one think you may have an allergy, then your pharmacist & local Doctor will be able to offer advice and support. There are also a number of helpful websites.
Allergy UK – https://www.allergyuk.org/allergy-awareness-week
Anaphylaxis Campaign – https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/
National Eczema Society – http://www.eczema.org/
Asthma UK – https://www.asthma.org.uk/
Liferaft also has a Resources section on it’s website that includes links to the above websites plus others. To visit the Allergy section, click here.
Liferaft and Allergies
You can use Liferaft to document your allergies, how they impact your daily life and what you do to minimise the risk. Include what treatment you use to relieve or treat symptoms and what others should do if you are suffering from an allergic reaction. You also have the option of sharing this information – it can help others know how to recognise if you are suffering from an allergic reaction, and what they can do to help reduce your exposure to allergens or what to do should you need help.
When you complete several sections within Liferaft, it will automatically displays allergies within the appropriate sections i.e. a food allergy will be displayed in the food section and a medication allergy in the medication section. This makes sure allergies are clearly visible for all to see.
You can also use the trackers to keep a record of symptoms as these could help identify the cause of your allergy when shown to a pharmacist or medical staff.
For more information about Liferaft and to create an account, click here.