Allergy Awareness Week 2016 – 25th April – 1st May:
To: All Branches
Allergy UK runs a series of annual awareness weeks to draw attention to the plight of the allergy sufferer. These weeks highlight the issues faced by those with allergies, and are designed to get people talking about allergy at key times throughout the year.
During awareness weeks, Allergy UK encourages everyone to get involved to show their support! Events take place throughout the week.
Through Allergy UK’s national helpline and their website (details below), people are able to receive individual advice and download fact sheets on all aspects of allergy.
Allergy UK will be hosting lots of different activities this year, coinciding with their 25th Anniversary!
Allergy UK will be releasing a news story on the misconceptions around allergy, and the campaign in general will focus on what it’s like having an allergy in 2016.
Allergy UK has conducted a survey to see why attitudes towards those who live with allergy haven’t changed over the last 25 years, even though we’ve come a long way in educating people about allergic conditions.
Each day of the week will focus on a particular allergic condition, meaning they will be covering the topic of allergy as a whole. Keep an eye out on their social media pages and the website every day during the week to see more details on the topic they will be discussing and the activities surrounding it.
The order of topics discussed in the week is as follows:
Monday – Misconceptions of Allergy
Tuesday – Hay Fever and Asthma
Wednesday – Skin Conditions
Thursday – Food Allergy
Friday – Fundraising
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and house dust mite. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a’ threat’ and produces an inappropriate response. Allergies are classified into IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated allergies. In IgE mediated allergies the immune system produces exaggerated amounts of a distinct class of antibodies known as IgE antibodies that are, specific for the particular offending allergens. These IgE antibodies bind to the surface of cells in the body called mast cells which become ‘IgE-sensitised’ such that these cells can then identify particular allergens the next time they come in contact with the body. This process is called sensitisation, and at this stage there are no physical symptoms of an allergy.
Mast cells are present in tissues that are in contact with the external environment, including the skin, nose, eyes, mouth, throat, stomach and gut. The next time that the same allergen is encountered the mast cells identify it as an intruder and produce histamine and other chemicals. It is the release of these chemicals from mast cells and their effects on the body that result in allergic symptoms. IgE-mediated allergy may cause a wide spectrum of symptoms depending on the allergen and the site of the body affected. In the nose histamine release results in symptoms of runny nose, itchy nose sneezing (rhinitis) that are commonly associated with itchy red eyes (conjunctivitis). In the skin symptoms include redness and nettle rash (hives, wheals). In the breathing tubes allergies cause wheezing, cough and shortage of breath (asthma), whereas in the gut symptoms such as abdominal discomfort (‘tummy ache’), nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may occur. Severe allergies may result in throat swelling, severe asthma and a drop in blood pressure. Severe allergic reactions are also known as anaphylaxis, and can be life-threatening.
The immune system may also respond to allergens without the production of the IgE antibody. The mechanisms of these so called non-IgE mediated allergies are far less well understood and are likely to involve multiple cells that react inappropriately to the presence of an allergen. Whereas symptoms of IgE mediated allergies occur rapidly and soon after exposure to the allergen, this may not be the case with non-IgE mediated allergies where symptoms may appear much later. In these cases it can be much harder to determine whether the problem is allergic in nature and if so which particular allergen is causing the problem. Allergy is widespread and affects approximately one in four of the population in the UK at some time in their lives. Each year the numbers are increasing with as many as half of all those affected being children.
Allergy UK Website Information
There’s lots of information on the Allergy UK Website with the subject matter heading covered:-
What is an Allergy?
What is Causing Your Allergy?
Why is Allergy Increasing?
Diagnosis & Testing of Allergy (Skin Prick Testing, Blood Tests, Patch Testing, Allergy Challenge, Non-Conventional Tests
The Management of Allergy
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Allergies in the Home (Bedrooms, Bathroom, Kitchen, Lounge, Garage, Garden)
Where to Start
NHS Allergy Services
Support Contact Network
Glossary of Terms
There are many different allergies listed as sub-headings below the general headings of:
Severe Allergy & Anaphylaxis
Rubber Latex Allergy
Allergy to Wasp & Bee Stings
Further Information or assistance:-
Allergy UK Helpline:- 01322 619898
Allergy UK Website:- https://www.allergyuk.org/awareness-weeks/awareness-weeks
Attachment:- Allergy Awareness Week Poster.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
Email Attachments – Click to download
· Attachment 1 – 16LTB257 Allergy Awareness Week 2016 – 25th April – 1st May
· Attachment 2 – allergy-awareness-week-poster