This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Allergy common but not taken seriously

Written by: | Published:

Allergies are common Allergies are common

Allergy affects almost 50% of children in the UK. It is the most common and growing chronic childhood disorder. Eight per cent of children now have diagnosed food allergy, causing them and their parents to live on constant alert.

Allergy is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to innocuous substances (allergens) that cause asthma, rhinitis, eczema, urticaria, angioedema, food allergy and eosinophilic gut disorders. These conditions can fluctuate throughout life, causing discomfort, pain, stress and depression to the sufferer and have a detrimental effect on family, school, work and life.

The financial cost to the NHS is enormous, with £900m spent annually on allergies in primary care and £68m on allergy-related hospital admissions, many of which are preventable. The National Report on Asthma Deaths 2014 showed that more than half of these patients had never had their (allergy) triggers recorded.

Many with severe or difficult to control asthma are severely allergic to house dust mites, pollens, animal allergens or mould spores, yet have never had an allergy assessment. The majority also have allergic rhinitis, either seasonally (hayfever) or perennially. An exacerbation of rhinitis can cause asthma attacks that can kill.

The nose is the first part of the respiratory tract, yet few asthmatics have their noses examined, or are questioned about nasal symptoms.

People with persistent or severe atopic eczema rarely are assessed for allergy yet have the most miserable lives, living with interminable irritation and sore, cracked, bleeding and often infected skin that seems impossible to sooth. It takes hours daily to apply treatments properly.

Immunology has been officially recognised in the UK only in recent years. Despite producing excellent allergy research, the UK still has only six tertiary allergy centres.

Increasing allergy knowledge and recognition in primary care by redistributing NHS funding would halt the widespread progression to severe and multi-organ allergic disease, saving money at the severe end of the disease spectrum.

Maureen Jenkins, clinical services director at Allergy UK

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.