How common is allergy?

It is common! One in three people is allergic to something.

Who are more susceptible to allergy?

Allergy is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental influences. Specific allergies are not inherited but the chances of having an allergy are greatly increased if a family member of yours is allergic.

Age and allergy

Yes. Although most allergies make their first appearance in the first 20 years of age, they can develop in any person at any age, and are virtually never outgrown. Children are known to undergo age-related changes in patterns of allergy. For example,

Allergy to foods can occur in babies at few weeks of age

Allergy to respiratory allergens usually occurs after age 2 or 3 years

Allergy to indoor allergens in pre-schoolers are more commonly seen than pollen allergies

The course and presentation of allergy is variable and is age dependant; One allergy may manifest itself as a different symptom at a later age. For example, atopic eczema in children usually manifests as asthma or other respiratory allergies at an older age.

What are the common symptoms of allergy?

Allergic reactions depends on the individual – it can be mild or severe, varies on different exposures, may or may not get worse over time, involves the whole body, and sometimes can be life threatening.
Common symptoms are:
Mild: rash / eczema, sneezing, running nose, asthma, otitis (ear infection), swelling etc
Severe : life-threatening (known as anaphylaxis) symptoms : difficulty to breathe, vomit, low blood pressure etc

Why should I know my allergens?

It is necessary to know what you are allergic to so that you may avoid the allergen or be prepared in advance for accidental exposure in the form of medications. While an allergic reaction may seem minor the first time, there is a chance that the allergic reaction may be more severe when you encounter the allergen a second time. Some allergic reactions can also be life threatening.