South West Lincolnshire CCG is supporting Allergy Awareness Week, which takes place between 23 and 29 April 2018.
Each year, the number of allergy sufferers increases by 5% with half of those affected being children. Whilst raising awareness of all allergic conditions affecting an estimated 21 million sufferers in the UK, the main focus for this year’s Allergy Awareness campaign is on seasonal allergic rhinitis or ‘hayfever’. This is considered the most common allergy with one in four of the UK population suffering with it.
An allergy develops 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.
Common allergic disorders include asthma, eczema and hay fever. Symptoms of an allergy can include sneezing, wheezing, coughing and skin rashes.
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergen that causes it. This is not always easy. Allergens such as house dust mites or fungal spores can be hard to spot and can breed in even the cleanest house.
It can also be hard to avoid pets, particularly if they belong to friends and family, however, you can take steps to help improve the situation such as keeping pets outside as much as possible.
At this time of year, many people start to be affected by allergies due to larger quantities of airborne grass pollen, and suffer from symptoms, such as sneezing, runny, blocked or stuffy nose, itchy eyes and post-nasal drip. However, some people are allergic to other types of pollen, such as tree or weed pollen, and may be affected at different times of the year.
Anyone who is feeling unwell with the symptoms of hayfever should in the first instance visit their pharmacist who can offer advice on medication that is available over the counter to relieve the symptoms associated with the condition.