Allergies are on the rise across the developed world; hay fever and eczema have trebled in the last 30 years. However, with 40% of people reporting having a food allergy when in fact only 1-5% do, and allergists reporting they have to spend most of their consultations refuting firmly held beliefs that have no scientific foundation, allergies are an area of much confusion and concern.
An area of particular confusion, is the link between allergies and exposure to microbes, and the idea that the rise in allergies is because of our modern obsession with cleanliness.
This guide investigates ideas about the causes, diagnosis and treatment with a group of allergy specialists and has brought together points to help you make sense of it all.
This guide was developed in collaboration with the British Society for Immunology, Cochrane UK, Allergy Academy, Allergy UK, Asthma UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign and the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology.