This week is National Allergy Week from 11th – 17th April 2011, where allergy charities and organisations put extra effort into raising awareness of allergies, the causes, triggers and the possible treatments available. Supported this year by Dettol and Care Allergy Defence, Allergy UK have just released their latest report The Missing Link to add grist to the mill.
It’s certainly been a busy week so far for allergies with all the buzz around this weekend’s Saturday Kitchen programme and Anthony Demetre’s comments on how he manages his own coeliac disease – ie. not very well! He’ll eat a little bit and binge when he feels like it. Not great advice for someone in his position to be giving..
Add that to the fact that the hay fever season has begun in earnest if my streaming eyes are anything to go by, so I’m hoping my jars of local honey will do the trick. Allergy UK warns that , “Hay fever sufferers are being unnecessarily put at risk of developing asthma” in their latest report ‘The Missing Link’ released to coincide with National Allergy Week. You can download the report on their website, click on The Missing Link in the first paragraph above to download it.
Here are some of the key findings:
The report highlights the fact that the United Kingdom is among the world leaders for research into allergy yet new treatments are not being made available to allergy sufferers because of a lack of allergy services.
“We are the poor relations of Europe when it comes to allergy services” says Lindsey McManus Allergy UK’s Executive Director for allergy services “. There are now excellent treatments possible particularly for common allergies like hay fever, yet sufferers are not receiving them purely because of a lack of specialists able to deliver the treatments or to train GPs in allergy diagnosis and
National Allergy Week 11th April 2011 will be focusing on raising awareness of the new allergy management programmes that are now available, how allergy, particularly seasonal rhinitis affects the lives of sufferers and on how those affected are impacted by the lack of allergy services.
The Missing Link report shows that with 38% of teenagers suffering from hayfever, many of them will
drop at least one grade in their examinations due to their allergy1. This of course will have considerable impact on their opportunities in both further studies and the work place.
Allergy UK also reports a significant increase in the number of older people contacting them suffering with hay fever for the first time. “We have no real idea why this is” states Lindsey. “We can only assume that it is due to increased pollution and sensitivity but it shows how important allergen management is. Simple things like vacuuming regularly, as pollen can live in the carpet for three months, and keeping work surfaces clean with wet wiping to remove allergens all make a real difference”
The Missing Link is well worth a read if you, or anyone you know has hay fever, asthma, or both. There is potential treatment out there to alleviate and potential even cure hay fever but very few of us are aware of it due to the lack of allergy specialists in the UK.
So, what are you doing for National Allergy Week? I am taking my local honey, courtesy of my neighbour who has just started to keep bees! If you’re thinking of doing something a bit more constructive and feel passionate about allergies, why not offer your services as a volunteer to one of the many fantastic allergy fountations and support groups that we are so lucky to have in the UK. Even if you just have an hour or two to spare a month, I’m sure they could find something you could help with.
It could be as simple as making a small donation, fund raising, offering your services in other areas, becoming a case study, providing testimonials, speaking to journalists or running a local support group. If you want ideas check out:
- Allergy UK – Get involved
- Anaphylaxis Campaign – How you can help and get involved
- The National Allergy Support Group (NASG) – Get involved
Have a look at their websites and look for links to volunteering or getting involved for inspiration. Are you a member of a local support group with any of the above organisations? Do you find it useful? Is your hay fever driving you mad? What are you doing to celebrate National Allergy Week 2011?