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Guide: Making Sense of Allergies
Allergy is one of the most frequent subjects in newspapers, magazines and online forums.
There are 100 million allergy-related Google searches a year and hundreds of Facebook pages dedicated to the subject. But differing theories about allergy – some from medical research and some from lifestyle ‘gurus’ – have led to conflicting ideas about whether allergens should be avoided or homes are too hygienic. Shops, clinics and websites sell allergy tests that don’t work.
Allergies are difficult to diagnose and share their symptoms with many other conditions. According to practitioners, far more people think they have an allergy than actually do, which might be why people coping with dangerous allergies complain that waiters think they’re just fussy or nursery staff don’t take their child’s allergy seriously. Are the numbers being swelled by the ‘worried well’? Has allergy become a catch-all self-diagnosis that might be masking other problems or anxieties about modern life?
This guide was produced by Sense about Science in collaboration with the British Society for Immunology, Cochrane UK, Allergy Academy, Allergy UK, Asthma UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign and the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology. Published: 4 June 2015.