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Frequently asked questions: Allergy information

Allergy information

What is an allergy?

An allergy is where the body has an adverse reaction to a usually harmless substance called an allergen. Allergens include pollen, house dust mites, pet dander (e.g. tiny flakes of dead skin), food, amongst others. Click here to find out more.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is a type of allergy where the immune system overreacts to pollen, causing the release of a chemical called histamine. This results in symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose and watery eyes. Click here to find out more.

What are airborne allergies?

One of the most common forms of allergy is provoked by tiny particles suspended, unseen, in the air that we breathe. These could be from:

  • Pollen
  • Mould Spores
  • House Dust mites
  • Pet Dander
  • Air Pollution

This condition known as allergic rhinitis is also often referred to as 'airborne allergy'.

Click here to find out more about airborne allergies.

What are the different types of allergies?

There are a number of different types of allergies. Some are seasonal or only occur intermittently where as some people can suffer all year round. Visit our types of allergies page to find out more.

How can I treat my allergy?

There are different products available to help manage your allergy symptoms. Click here to find out more about the treatment options available to allergy sufferers.

How do allergies affect different parts of the body?

Allergy symptoms vary greatly from person to person and even from one experience to another. To a certain extent, the symptoms depend on the allergen to which you have been exposed and the parts of the body that are affected.

Click here to find out more about how different allergies can affect different parts of the body.

What time of year am I most likely to suffer from my allergies?

The time of year you experience symptoms will depend on the type of allergy you suffer from. Hay fever sufferers will most likely experience symptoms in spring and early summer as trees pollinate between March and May and grass and flowers follow in May and June. Other allergy sufferers such as those who have a pet allergy can suffer all year round.

calendar

Click here to see larger version

The calendar shows the general situation in the UK. The exact timing and severity of pollen seasons will differ from year to year depending on the weather and also regionally depending on geographical location.

Try to avoid cutting the grass or ask a non-hay fever sufferer to do it instead, as grass pollen can trigger hay fever.

Information supplied by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit. University of Worcester.

Where can I find out more information about allergies?

If you want to find out further allergy information you can visit www.allergyuk.org or www.nhs.uk/pages/homePage.aspx.

You can also call NHS Direct on 111 or talk to a pharmacist or your GP.