Allergy Awareness Week

Allergy Awareness Week

Allergy UK are running their annual Allergy Awareness Week from 24 April to 30 April this year. The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to talk about their allergies at key times throughout the year. During the week, a number of fundraising events will take place and everyone is encouraged to get involved and show their support.

Allergy UK is the operational name of the British Allergy Foundation which was formed in 1991. The Charity relies on a Health Advisory Board for guidance on specific issues relating to allergies.

Allergy UK define an allergy as “the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods and house dust mites. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies then as a ‘threat’ and produces an inappropriate response”.

The aims of Allergy UK are to:

• Provide information and support through the Charity’s dedicated helpline; • Empower people with allergies to manage their symptoms; • Enable sufferers to receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment through education of healthcare professionals; • Work with the Charity’s supporters and volunteers to raise awareness; • Educate corporate bodies about the need for products suitable for those with allergies and • Conduct ongoing medical and social research into the causes and impact of allergies and lobby for better allergy services.

Allergies are widespread and affect approximately one in four of the population in the UK at some time in their lives. It is estimated that 21 million adults in the UK suffer from at least one allergy and 10 million suffer from more than one allergy. In 2011/12, there were 18,471 hospital admissions relating to allergies in England. In 2015/16, this figure rose to 25,093, an increase of 36%.

On a worldwide scale, it is estimated that allergic diseases are affecting the lives of more than one billion people. With an epidemic rise during the last 60 years, this figure is expected to reach up to 4 billion by 2050.

Allergic conditions take on many forms and can vary in severity from the mildest of conditions such as hay fever to life threatening conditions such as anaphylaxis. Some of the more common forms of allergy include respiratory allergies, food allergies, skin allergies, drug allergies and allergic reactions to wasp and bee stings.

On occasions, allergic reactions may arise due to the prescribing of certain drugs. Antibiotics, anaesthetics, vaccines and x-ray guided joint injections have all been known to cause allergic reactions in some people, hence the importance of recording an allergic reaction in a patient’s medical records so as to avoid the possibility of prescribing the same drug in the future. Should this happen, then the patient could be entitled to claim damages in respect of the injuries suffered.

Allergy UK recommend that if you are allergic to a particular drug, then you should make very effort to ensure that everyone who is involved in your care knows about the allergy. They suggest that you should:

• Always ask whether the allergy has been recorded in your medical records; • Volunteer the information to everyone who is involved in your care, even if they do not ask; • Make sure you are given an allergy bracelet when you are admitted to hospital; • If your allergy is severe, consider wearing your own allergy bracelet and • If you are prescribed any drugs, always read the label and information leaflet very carefully.

Allergy UK may be contacted through their helpline on 01322 619898 or via e-mail at

If you have suffered an injury as a result of an allergic reaction that might have been caused by a medical error, then please telephone Michelle Nkomo on 01752 292248 or e-mail for a free consultation regarding your legal rights in pursuing a potential medical negligence claim.

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