What is allergy
An allergy is the response of the body's immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and house dust mite. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a 'threat' and produces an inappropriate response.4
Exposure to similar allergens leads to different patterns of allergic disease in children.5,6 This could result from different patterns of allergen entry. The skin acts as a barrier to allergen entry. Skin barrier defects, commonly present within the population, have been linked to more severe patterns of sensitisation and worse allergy-related disease. The presence of exposure to particular allergens can thus be related to symptoms through allergy testing and this will help distinguish between sensitised and non-sensitised individuals, thus offering directions for better management.6
Allergy affects approximately 50% of UK children (6 million)1 and approximately 44% of UK adults (21 million).2 Identifying allergies early can provide much needed answers for both patients and health care professionals and has been proven to reduce health care costs in asthma by more than half.3
To take the RCGP Allergy module, click here.