“For years, allergies have been on the increase, now 6 per cent of children and 3 per cent of adults suffer from food allergies.
Contributors include the environment, food and habits that might mean a person typically avoids something, commonly including gluten, milk, eggs, fish, nuts, soya, celery and sulfite.
There’s still a problem with products that are sold loose however: sausages from the butcher and rolls from the baker should also be labelled according to the December regulation, but this hasn’t necessarily been happening.
Customers often have to double-check.
Allergic reactions to food can be confusingly diverse. They range from itching, redness and welts to sneezing fits and runny noses, coughing and breathlessness as well as diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea.
The worst form of allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.
People’s allergies vary according to age: for babies, cow’s milk and chicken’s eggs are the most common culprit.
Nuts, fish and wheat are often problems for children. Teenagers and adults react more often to raw fruit and vegetables, spices and nuts.
In 60 per cent of cases people are also allergic to pollen.
There is a particularly mysterious form of wheat allergy that tends to appear only in combination with exercise.
It emerged around three years ago and since then has become more common, exercise, alcohol and certain medicines can act as triggers and young people are worst affected, For example, somebody eats a bread roll and then does some sport. It can cause an extreme reaction.
The phenomenon has been dubbed Wheat Dependent Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis, or WDEIA for short.
In these kinds of cases the doctor quite often has to convince the patient that he or she is allergic to wheat.
“It’s a puzzle,” And an increasingly common one”
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