Allergy Today: Winter 2021/22

Allergy News – Report on the National Allergy Crisis Articles on Atopic Dermatitis and the Psychosocial and physical impacts of peanut allergy

Welcome to this edition of Allergy Today.

This is the third edition of Allergy Today which has been published in the time of Covid-19 and I am writing this Foreword as the path of the pandemic becomes even more uncertain with the arrival of the Omicron variant. In response, the government is speeding up and extending the vaccination programme by offering all adults in England a booster jab and halving the gap between second doses and boosters in a bid to avoid a further significant wave of infection.

For many people with allergic conditions vaccination is a matter of much concern and they struggle to find the information they need about the types of vaccines available to them. Understandably this means that they are reluctant to have a vaccination and fearful of the possible consequences, thereby missing out on the opportunity to protect themselves from serious infection. Their first port of call is, of course, their GP and over the months it has become clear that GPs also need support in providing accurate information about vaccinations to those living with allergic conditions. Just recently the BSACI has published the guidance and help that GPs will find valuable in advising their patients, and the patient charities continue to work with the BSACI to respond to the information needs of both those living with allergy and their GPs at a time when vaccination is so important.

The broader need for better care for people living with allergic disease was spelled out very clearly in October in the new report form the All Party Parliamentary Group for Allergy and the National Allergy Strategy Group, entitled Meeting the challenges of the National Allergy Crisis. Despite a series of reports over the years highlighting the need for a national allergy strategy, little has changed and allergy remains an under resourced service within the NHS, despite the fact that around 21 million people in the UK are living with allergy, with more than five million of these severe enough to require specialist care. The presentation of this report to the Minister of State for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, by a young allergy sufferer marks the beginning of increased lobbying and representation to our health services to take action and recognise the true burden that allergy can place on individuals and their families.

This edition of Allergy Today includes an article on the psychosocial and physical impact of peanut allergy, highlighting very clearly the significant burden that a food allergy has on an individual and their family and its impact on quality of life and mental health. I hope you will find this and all the articles in this new edition of Allergy Today interesting and thought provoking.

Professor Adam Fox

Chair of the Allergy UK Health Advisory Board
Consultant Paediatric Allergist, Evelina London Children’s Hospital