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Allergies not to be sniffed at this Spring!

Local health chiefs are raising awareness of allergies as part of Allergy Awareness Week (28th April – 4th May 2014).

One-in-four people in the UK suffers from an allergy at some time in their lives. The numbers are increasing every year and as many as half of those affected are children. Some of the most common allergens include pollen, house dust mites, mould and pets. Less common allergens include nuts, fruit and latex.

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.

Dr Paul Oliver,  clinical lead for NHS Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Allergies are very common and on the rise. Medication can’t cure your allergy, but it can be used to treat the common symptoms of an allergy, such as a runny nose, itchy mouth and sneezing. Most treatments are available over the counter but always ask your pharmacist or GP for advice before starting to take any new medication.”

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.

For more information about allergies, their symptoms and treatment visit: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Allergies or you can phone the Allergy UK helpline on 01322 619898

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