Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to environmental substances that are harmless to most people.
Common allergens are food, pollen, dust mites, animals, insect stings, or medicines.
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Allergies are becoming more frequent in the western world. One in twenty will develop a food allergy in their life, and one in 100 will have a life-threatening allergic reaction.
From 1994 to 2004, hospital admissions for anaphylaxis doubled. In children under five years old, it was five times higher over the same period, suggesting allergy in early life is increasing faster than in adults.
Theories for why the number of allergies is rising:
Most allergic reactions are only mild to moderate and can effectively be treated with antihistamines. But other reactions can be life-threatening and require emergency medical treatment.
The most severe allergic reactions are known as anaphylaxis, and people who suffer from it should have an emergency management plan that includes an adrenaline auto-injector.
Food allergies happen when your body reacts in a mild or a severe manner after consuming a type of food that your body is supersensitive to.
Severe food allergies in which the body exhibits serious symptoms like slow pulse, blood pressure drop and wheezing/dizziness (anaphylaxis), are getting increasingly common, with a quarter of people having allergies experiencing them. Anaphylaxis cases are on the upswing across the world, just as food allergies become widespread. While the data is tricky, multiple sources point towards a 7 percent rise in food allergies worldwide as of 2018.