Living with allergies can be a miserable experience for not only the sufferer but for the families around them.
Allergies are very common and are thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives and we are fast approaching the season for one of the most common allergies – hay fever, which is a reaction to grass or tree pollen.
Many people suffer from these allergies without actually knowing what is causing them, which can make them difficult to avoid and find the right treatment for them.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance, with your immune system mistakenly identifying a harmless substance as a threat and taking excessive defensive action.
Symptoms often include; watery eyes, sneezing, runny or blocked nose, red itchy rash, worsening of eczema and asthma. In severe cases anaphylactic shock can occur which can cause breathing difficulties and emergency treatment is needed.
Getting Allergy Testing
Your GP can offer advice and treatment for mild allergies and if your allergy is more severe or if it’s not obvious what you’re allergic to, you may be referred for allergy testing at a specialist allergy clinic.
Allergy testing may involve a skin prick test, blood testing, patch testing and if it is food related, an elimination diet to help you to find out which triggers might be causing your symptoms and to rule out others.
An allergy diagnosis can be overwhelming and life changing but having the right information can help you to better manage your allergy and whether there are certain foods or places that you need to avoid, or prepare for.
If you have had an allergy diagnosis, I highly recommend the book Living with Allergies, which has been written in an all-encompassing approach to allergies and is packed full of practical tips for all the family.
Having an allergy doesn’t have to define your life, you can still have fun and travel, but having the right information at your fingertips really does help to make life easier.
Do you suffer with allergies, have you been tested?