Food Allergies vs Food Intolerance

	 Food Allergies vs Food Intolerance

Food Allergies vs Food Intolerance

Over the last few years there has been a lot of ink spilt over the differences between
Food Allergies and Food Intolerance.

This infographic from our freiends as Yorktest should help to clear up a few of the common misunderstandings.

New Asthma Video delivers life-saving message using music and dance

Tapas Mukherjee
Tapas Mukherjee
Tapas Mukherjee[/caption]Tapas Mukherjee, a respiratory registrar at Glenfield Hospital created the video using help from NHS colleagues in his spare time, after winning an award to develop his idea, from The NHS England Regional Innovation Fund in 2014. The video, which highlights hard hitting facts from the National Review of Asthma Deaths Report, aims to reduce the number of patients who are reliant on their emergency blue inhaler, encouraging them to see a doctor or nurse, and switch over to a regular inhaler instead.

Studies have shown that 80% of patients don’t know how to use an inhaler correctly and that using a blue inhaler more than twice a week is associated with increased chances of death.

Tapas explains further: “It’s amazing how many people, both patients and professionals, don’t know how to use inhalers properly. We hope to change that with this video, and if enough people see the message, we expect it will save someone’s life too.”

Mike Morgan, Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at Leicester’s Hospitals and National Clinical Director for Respiratory Medicine for the UK added: “Good inhaler technique is fundamental to the effective treatment of asthma. Many asthma related deaths are related to poor understanding of inhaler therapy. Getting this message across to young people in particular is particularly challenging and I welcome this excellent innovative video.”

According to Asthma UK, someone in the UK suffers from a life threatening attack every ten seconds.

Majority of people who suffer night-time allergies don’t know what’s causing them – Read our interview with expert Amena Warner

Amena Warner
Amena Warner
More than 90% of allergy and asthma sufferers in the UK don’t actually know what triggers their night time allergy and asthma symptoms, a problem which affects almost a third of the population.

The survey revealed 30% of sufferers experience interrupted sleep as a result of their symptoms.

When asked what they think the main triggers are, only 7% answered with dust mite faeces, even though up to a third of the weight of a two year old pillow can be made up of them, and 10 million of the creatures live inside the average bed.

What’s more, a third surveyed by Slumberdown admitted they didn’t even know what a dust mite is with a further 46% confessing to not actually knowing what a dust mite looks like.

In 2012 Allergy UK found that house dust mites were a trigger of an allergic reaction for around 58% of allergy sufferers.

Almost half (42%) thought hay fever was the main trigger, with 26% blaming dust closely followed by moisture in the air (23%).

Many people don’t realise the effects dust mites have on allergies and the fact it’s actually not the mite itself but the droppings which cause symptoms, with each mite producing about 20 of these droppings every day. A significant amount of exposure to house dust mite allergens happens in bed, and they also thrive in humid conditions so taking precautions such as using special bedding, can help prevent any wheezing or poor breathing.
Despite taking practical steps to eliminate dust mites such as vacuuming (49%), taking medication (46%), and opening the windows (41%). The UK could be doing more to help their symptoms, such as using bedding that protects against dust mites.

We interviewed Amena Warner of Allergy UK to mind out more.

PatientTalk.Org – Amena, can I ask, what is an Allergy?

Amena Warner– Well it’s a malfunction if you like of the immune system to something that would be quite natural within the environment or the food we eat. SO the immune system overreacts in an abnormal way to that thing that it’s been sensitives to.

PatientTalk.Org – What is the difference between night time and daytime allergies?

Amena Warner – Well often daytime allergies could be a food, it could be something in the environment, if it’s an outdoor allergen such as pollen causing hay fever symptoms but a night time allergy specifically can often be something within the home and often it’s within that bedroom environment. We’re talking about things like pets or mould but specifically about house dust mite because majority of people who have a night time allergy it’s often the house dust mite that may be contributing to that.

PatientTalk.Org – And why don’t people know about these night time allergies?

Amena Warner – Well if it’s the house dust mite, they might not even think about the house dust mite because they may not know about the house dust mite. Their microscopic little creatures that are a quarter of a millimetre long, so you wouldn’t actually see them with the human eye. So unless anyone told you about house dust mites, you wouldn’t know about them.

PatientTalk.Org – How can people go about avoiding night time and daytime allergies?

Amena Warner – Well first of all, it’s the symptoms you look out for. SO the symptoms; if there’s runny nose, itchy nose, itchy eyes, nasal blockage congestion, tightness of chest, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath. That would alarm me to think something in the environment at night is causing the allergic problem. Asthma, tightness of chest, cough etc., if that’s left uncontrolled that can be very very dangerous. So they really need to go to the GP and get advice and medication on that. But if they do wake up in the night or early morning with symptoms it might be house dust mite allergies. So there is lifestyle things they can first try and avoid, things like encasing pillows and mattresses in anti-allergy bedding, taking them off very regularly at 60 degrees will kill the house dust mite.

Ventilation, opening windows don’t have the central heating on too high. So cooler, drier conditions are much better as house dust mites like warm humid conditions – they thrive in those conditions. So there the little lifestyle things that people can do to reduce the amount of house dust mite. It won’t eradicate them, because you can’t eradicate house dust mite, they’re in everybody’s household. What we try to do is reduce how many we have if you like. You won’t be able to see them, so you won’t know that they’re there. We have a whole big fact sheet and lots of information on our website.

PatientTalk.Org – Lastly, what is allergy UK and how does it help?

Amena Warner – Allergy UK is patient organisation and were an information charity for people with allergic disease or people may have symptoms that they think may be an allergy so they can find out more information. We do provide a helpline as well so people can phone up and if they want to know where their nearest allergy service is. So we are patient information charity to support people.

PatientTalk.Org – Where can people go for more information?

Amena Warner – or our helpline number is 01322619898

PatientTalk.Org – Thank you very much Amena.

Amena Warner – Thank you

Asthma – What are the triggers for asthma?

This morning I got a call from a PR agency asking me if I would like to contact and interview with a lady called Amena Warner from a charity called Allergy UK. It is looking at what causes night time triggers of night time asthma. I’ll be publishing the interview next week so do check back!

Anyhow as some background I thought I would share this rather useful infographic on asthma triggers.

If you have asthma (or any other allergies for that matter) can you share your triggers in the comments section below.

Thanks very much in advance.

Asthma Triggers and Hot Spots

From Visually.

Allergic rhinitis – how to prevent allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis - a guide
Allergic rhinitis – a guide

The best way to prevent allergic rhinitis is to avoid the allergen that causes it.

But this isn’t always easy. Allergens, such as dust mites, aren’t always easy to spot and can breed in even the cleanest house.

It can also be difficult to avoid coming into contact with pets, particularly if they belong to friends and family.

Below is some advice to help you avoid the most common allergens.

House dust mites

Dust mites are one of the biggest causes of allergies. They’re microscopic insects that breed in household dust.

To help limit the number of mites in your house, you should:

consider buying an air-permeable occlusive mattress and bedding covers – this type of bedding acts as a barrier to dust mites and their droppings

choose wood or hard vinyl floor coverings instead of carpet

fit roller blinds that can be easily wiped clean

regularly clean cushions, soft toys, curtains and upholstered furniture, either by washing or vacuuming them

use synthetic pillows and acrylic duvets instead of woollen blankets or feather bedding

use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter – it can remove more dust than ordinary vacuum cleaners

use a clean damp cloth to wipe surfaces – dry dusting can spread allergens further

Concentrate your efforts on controlling dust mites in the areas of your home where you spend most time, such as the bedroom and living room.


It isn’t pet fur that causes an allergic reaction, but exposure to flakes of their dead skin, saliva and dried urine.

If you can’t permanently remove a pet from the house, you may find the following tips useful:

keep pets outside as much as possible or limit them to one room, preferably one without carpet

don’t allow pets in bedrooms

wash pets at least once a fortnight

groom dogs regularly outside

regularly wash bedding and soft furnishings your pet has been on

If you’re visiting a friend or relative with a pet, ask them not to dust or vacuum on the day you’re visiting because it will disturb allergens into the air.



Different plants and trees pollinate at different times of the year, so when you get allergic rhinitis will depend on what sort of pollen(s) you’re allergic to.

Most people are affected during the spring and summer months because this is when most trees and plants pollinate.

To avoid exposure to pollen, you may find the following tips useful:

check weather reports for the pollen count and stay indoors when it’s high

avoid line-drying clothes and bedding when the pollen count is high

wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen

keep doors and windows shut during mid-morning and early evening, when there’s most pollen in the air

shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after being outside

avoid grassy areas, such as parks and fields, when possible

if you have a lawn, consider asking someone else to cut the grass for you

Mould spores

Moulds can grow on any decaying matter, both in and outside the house. The moulds themselves aren’t allergens, but the spores they release are.

Spores are released when there’s a sudden rise in temperature in a moist environment, such as when central heating is turned on in a damp house or wet clothes are dried next to a fireplace.

To help prevent mould spores, you should:

keep your home dry and well ventilated

when showering or cooking, open windows but keep internal doors closed to prevent damp air spreading through the house, and use extractor fans

avoid drying clothes indoors, storing clothes in damp cupboards and packing clothes too tightly in wardrobes

deal with any damp and condensation in your home

Read more about how damp and mould can affect your health and how to get rid of damp and mould.