Last updated: 21.04.15

Allergy Awareness Week Launched

It's Allergy Awareness Week (April 20th-26th) - a campaign set up by charity Allergy UK to bring to light the daily impact that allergy has on the lives of its sufferers.

An allergy is when the body has an adverse reaction to a particular food or substance in the environment. Such substances, known as allergens, trigger an allergic reaction that can cause symptoms that can be life-threatening.

Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, shellfish and nuts.

To mark the start of awareness week, Allergy UK conducted a survey of more than 2,000 adults to investigate how much knowledge they have surrounding allergies.

It was revealed that two-thirds of respondents wouldn't know how to help if they witnessed someone having an allergic reaction - particularly concerning considering around 21 million Britons have an allergy, with over 20,000 people in England admitted to hospital each year for allergic reactions.

Lindsey McManus, chief executive of Allergy UK, said: "Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction which can be terrifying at best and fatal at worst. There is a concerning lack of awareness of this fatal condition."

Proving Ms McManus' point, the poll also showed that two-thirds of respondents admitted they don't know how to use an adrenaline pen, which can help to save the lives of those experiencing anaphylaxis.

"People need to understand the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and have the knowledge and confidence to act swiftly if faced with an emergency by administering a life-saving injection. We are urging people to educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, which could potentially save lives," she concluded.

Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. Our courses include Food Allergy Awareness Training, designed to help businesses understand and comply with their legal obligations under new UK Food Allergy legislation introduced in December 2014.