What is an allergy?
An allergy is a disease of the body's immune system. When you have an allergy, the immune system becomes sensitive to a substance, for example, peanuts. This substance is called an allergen.
Often, children have a number of allergic conditions at once, including asthma, eczema, food allergy, hay fever or a constantly blocked nose (also known as allergic rhinitis).(PUN09)
Common allergens include:(NHSC)
50% of children in the UK now have an allergic condition(AUK)
"Asthma and allergies come closely hand-in-hand, together with other skin problems such as eczema and it's almost misleading to consider them as separate diseases. They are all different manifestations of the same condition and they need to be studied together."
Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay, speaking on BBC Radio Sussex
Over 50% of children (approx. 6 million) will be diagnosed with an allergic disease, whether eczema, asthma or hayfever (PUN09)
(PUN09) Punekar YS and Sheikh A. Clin Exp Allergy 2009; 39(8): 1209-1216.
(NHSC) NHS Conditions - Allergies updated April 2014. Available here http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Allergies/Pages/Causes.aspx last accessed February 2015.
(AUK) Allergy UK accessed February 2015. Available here http://www.allergyuk.org/child-allergy-menu/child-allergy