Multiple allergies rising

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under ALLERGIES

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rashOne allergy is trouble enough. But imagine being allergic to many things at the same time. Unfortunately, multiple allergies seem to be getting more common and are actually on the rise. This was according to a report in BBC, as confirmed by health specialists in Liverpool, Cambridge, Cardiff, Birmingham and London. Some of the observations of the experts are:

  • Multiple allergies are actually up from 15% to almost 40% in recent years in the British population. UK has one of the highest allergy rates in the world.
  • Allergies come with more severe symptoms, some of which are life-threatening. Many deaths due to allergic reactions occur in children.
  • The period of suffering for those with asthma and hay fever are getting longer.

According to Dr Jonathan North, a consultant immunologist in Birmingham

“As well as the well-documented increase in prevalence, the proportion of complex/multiple allergy cases is increasing.”

Examples of multiple allergies would be a combination of food allergy and allergy to something in the air, e.g. peanut allergy and hay fever. Many multiple allergy patients are children.

The reasons behind the increase in allergies are not fully understood but some of the theories presented are as follows:

  • Food allergies: There is now a wider range of foods available and children are being exposed to them at a much younger age.
  • Air-borne allergies: Due to global warming, the seasons are changing. The season for allergies (spring to summer) is also starting earlier and finishing later and the levels of in fungal spores and pollens are increasing.
  • Oversanitized environment: Some researchers believe that our children our growing up in an oversanitized environment which makes them m ore susceptible to allergies.
  • Eczema: Known as the “gateway” to allergy, this common condition is caused by the overused of soap and cleaning detergents that robs the skin of its natural nutrients. The skin breaks and allows allergens to enter the body.

According to Dr Shuaib Nasser, a consultant in allergy for the Cambridge University NHS Trust

“The UK is a developed society and allergies affect westernised countries. If a country passes from a rural to an urban society then the existence of allergies escalates… Some say modern life is making us allergic.”

Photo credit: istockphoto

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