Allergies & their symptoms
Having an allergy is a very common condition in the UK. Causes can vary, but many allergies are manageable, and should not affect your daily life if the proper precautions are taken.
Allergic reactions happen when your body reacts to an allergen and releases histamine. This causes various symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose, asthma or coughing fits, inflammation or irritation of the eyes, skin irritation, and swelling of the skin, lips or tongue.
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock)
In extreme circumstances, allergic reactions can cause anaphylactic shock. This is when your body reacts very badly and very quickly to a particular allergen (such as nuts). Symptoms include swelling of the hands, eyes and feet, itchy skin, stomach pains, and tightening of the airways.
Anaphylaxis can cause swelling of the lips and tongue, breathing problems, collapse, and loss of consciousness. In some cases, anaphylaxis causes death, meaning it must always be treated as a medical emergency.
Causes of allergies
Allergies can be caused by many different triggers, including dust, animals, certain foods (such as dairy, nuts or shellfish), or even certain medicines.
Hay fever (allergy to tree, flower and grass pollen) tends to be seasonal, affecting people more in spring and summer. Understanding what causes your allergies is important so that you can avoid them and be prepared with appropriate treatment.
Our allergy clinic
We can prescribe the antihistamine Telfast for seasonal allergic rhinitis, which many people experience as hay fever symptoms. For severe allergies, if you've already been prescribed EpiPen by your doctor, we can prescribe 1 or 2 pens.
Request the treatment you need and complete a short medical questionnaire. We will use this information to ensure the treatment is safe and suitable for you to take. If approved, your treatment can either be collected or delivered.
Doctor's allergy advice
Allergies affect around 1 in 4 people in the UK. It's possible to develop allergies at any point in your life, and symptoms can vary in severity for a number of reasons. While avoiding the allergens that trigger your reaction is the best way to stay healthy, you can manage your symptoms effectively with treatment.
Triggers & allergy testing
If you develop an allergy, you can try to identify what has caused it by thinking about what has changed in your lifestyle. Are you using a new medicine or cosmetic product? Have you been in contact with animals or eaten a new food? Try avoiding the suspected trigger for a week and see if your symptoms improve.
If you're unable to identify what's causing a reaction, speak to your GP about allergy testing. In a safe environment, you will be tested for a skin reaction to a range of allergens. Once identified, you can know to avoid these triggers.
Being prepared is the most important thing. Whether you have hay fever, asthma, or another allergy, having the necessary measures to prevent and minimise the likelihood of an allergic reaction will allow you to live life as normally as possible.
Usually, simply avoiding certain foods, environments or animals will be enough to avoid an allergic reaction. Taking medicines is another preventative measure which can be done either before symptoms start, or as they are just beginning.
Be prepared for allergy season
Hay fever season varies depending on the weather and the region in which you live. It usually starts in early spring and can last until early autumn. Starting hay fever treatment as soon as you feel the beginning of symptoms is the most effective way to keep allergies at bay.
If you live with asthma, remember that allergies can make this worse. Make sure your preventer and / or reliever inhalers are in date and that you know how to use them correctly. Visit our asthma clinic for advice and treatment.