Science News

Allergies on The Increase

Sun, 16th Nov 2003

Part of the show Left and Right Handedness

We are becoming a more allergic nation- that’s the news from the British Medical Journal which published a study this week looking at hospital admissions for allergy-related illnesses from 1990 to the year 2000. Researchers in London found a dramatic rise in the number of serious allergic reaction resulting in a trip to casualty. The biggest rises were seen in food allergies and in anaphylaxis- a major allergic reaction to things like latex or bee stings. There was a roughly six-fold increase in the number of people going to hospital for these conditions in 2000, compared to 1990. The researchers who did the study think that we may be exposed to more things in our environment that could trigger allergies. For example food production methods may lead to inclusions of nuts in many supposedly nut-free foods. We could also be becoming more susceptible to allergies as a population, but the researchers are not sure what could be causing it.

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