Why are Allergies on the Increase?

This week is Allergy Awareness Week, so to raise awareness on the increasing number of allergy sufferers in the UK we’ve created this useful infographic.

This week is Allergy Awareness Week, so to raise awareness on the increasing number of allergy sufferers in the UK we’ve created this useful infographic.

Please share the infographic below and include attribution to www.theidbandco.com.

Allergies in the UK are on the Increase

uk map of allergies

According to AllergyUK, the number of allergy sufferers in the UK increases by 5% every year.

A study conducted by The Allergenic Invasion found the UK to be one of the top three countries in the world for the highest incident of allergy.

uk chart of allergies

18% of the UK population now suffer from at least one allergy, with around 10 million people suffering from multiple allergies.

Years ago it was common to find increases in asthma and hay fever, whereas now we are seeing an increase in food allergies, particularly amongst children.

Changes in the Exposure of Food Allergens

hay fever and nut allergies

50% of children and young people will develop an allergy before they reach 18.

kids allergies

There are a number of reasons why food allergies could be on the increase:

Scientists have found that changes in the food we eat and how we’re exposed to food allergens could be partly to blame. Diets these days often include processed foods and we’re not always getting the fruit and vegetables our body needs.

Allergy research teams are investigating whether reduced levels of nutrients can contribute to the development of food allergies.

Cosmetic products also often feature ingredients derived from nuts and other common food allergy substances. Some researchers are suggesting that exposing the body to potential food allergens could increase the risk of allergy.

Genetics play a big part in a child’s risk of developing an allergy. If both parents have allergies, the child’s risk increases by 60 – 80%.

Allergy Related Hospital Admissions has Increased by 500%

Since 1990, the amount of UK hospital admissions related to food allergic reactions has increased by 500%. Again, the exact reason behind such a significant increase is currently unknown, but it’s clear that more help around allergy concerns is needed.

There are just 30 allergy specialists in the UK – that’s one for every 700,000 sufferers. Many parents with concerns about allergy often turn to private surgeries for testing. Not every NHS hospital offers allergy testing, so there are often long waiting lists and parents have to travel further.

 

Spotting the Symptoms

Allergic reactions can vary, from a slight rash to having anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction where you can experience alterations in heart rate and unconsciousness.

If you or your child experiences any of the below symptoms, it’s important to go to your GP and seek professional advice.

  • Eyes: itchiness, watery, red or swollen eyes can be a sign of many different types of allergy, including hay fever, dust and pet dander, contact lenses, makeup, perfume and other chemicals.
  • Nose, throat and ears: A runny or blocked nose, sneezing, sinus pains, sore throat, swollen and itchy mouth or throat, and blocked ears can be the cause of several different allergies.
  • Airways: wheezy breathing, coughing and shortness of breath could also be related to asthma and a number of allergies.
  • Digestion: swollen or itchy lips and tongue, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea are often signs of a food allergy.
  • Skin: rashes, itchy raised areas, redness, wheals or hives, swelling, cracked, dry and weepy areas of skin can be related to eczema and other forms of allergy.

 

The facts and statistics for this piece came from AllergyUK – www.allergyuk.org. Visit their website for more information on allergies. The leading national charity is dedicated to supporting the millions of allergy sufferers across the UK.