Frequently Asked Questions

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Who are the BSACI?

The British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) is the national professional and academic organisation representing allergists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and physicians with a special interest in allergy.  For more about the BSACI Click here

What is the benefit of being a member of the BSACI?

The BSACI provides support to clinicians and scientists involved in Allergy in the UK and overseas. Our aim is to provide high-quality NHS based allergy service to patients with allergic disease and other disorders of the immune system. To find out more about becoming a member of the Society click here or contact us on 0207 501 3910, or info@bsaci.org.

Members receive access to the members’ area of the BSACI website. From here members can access the online journal, download patient information leaflets onto your Trust headed paper, view guidelines (including e-Guidelines) and the latest edition of Allergy Update – the official newsletter of the BSACI and much more.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is an abnormally high sensitivity to a certain substance, such as dust, pollens, foods, or drugs. Allergy is derived from the Greek allos, meaning other, and ergon which means work. If a person has an allergic reaction to something, what they are really experiencing is an altered or exaggerated reaction. Thus, the allergy patient lives in an altered state of hypersensitivity. To find out more about the most common allergies click here 

What are the allergic symptoms?

An allergic reaction typically triggers symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin. For some people, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. In the most serious cases, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.

A number of different allergens are responsible for allergic reactions. The most common include:
• Pollen
• Dust
• Food
• Insect stings
• Animal dander
• Mould
• Medications
• Latex

To find out more information regarding the most common allergies please click here

How are allergies diagnosed?

If you or your child has allergy symptoms, an allergist/immunologist or a GP with special training in allergy may help with a diagnosis. An allergist has advanced training and experience to properly diagnose your condition and prescribe an allergy treatment and management plan to help you feel better and live better.

To find out more information regarding the most common allergies please click here

How are allergies treated?

Allergy treatments involve 3 fundamental principles.

First, avoidance of the known irritant or allergen responsible for inducing the state of hypersensitivity. Second, when avoidance of a specific allergen source such as house dust mite or certain pollens is impossible or not sufficient enough to control symptoms, then drug therapy is used. Finally, when avoidance and drug therapy fail to adequately control symptoms, specific allergen immunotherapy (also known as allergy shots) are used to help prevent the progression of the allergic disease.

Allergen immunotherapy is the only treatment available today that can actually modify the natural history of allergic disease. It is most important to remember that all allergic diseases, such as hay fever and asthma, are chronic long-standing diseases which require long-term management.

To find out more information regarding the most common allergies and how they are treated, please click here

What is allergy season?

A significant number of people only experience seasonal nasal, eye and throat symptoms (e.g. hay fever) during a specific time of year when certain allergens are in the air outdoors. These are during the spring when plants bloom and tree pollen counts soar, the summer during which grass and weed pollen cause allergies and autumn is the time for ragweed and certain mould allergies. Perennial allergies, or year-round allergies, are typically caused by indoor allergies to dust mites, mould, cockroaches, and pet dander.

To find out more information regarding the most common allergies, please click here