Children’s allergy specialist, Dr Robert Boyle, unpicks the evidence behind the value of allergy tests for children with eczema.
Around one in five children have eczema – and even mild cases can have a big impact on both the child and their family. For many, symptoms will come and go before they start primary school, but for others it can indicate the beginning of a genetic tendency to develop allergic conditions such as hay fever or asthma (or both).
We also know that children with eczema are more likely to develop food allergies, especially if the condition starts in the first few months of life and is severe. Often parents will make the allergy diagnosis themselves – at the sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhoea or rash after eating scrambled egg, for example.
This can be frightening, but doctors can usually easily confirm the cause of these immediate reactions by talking to the parents and offering a confirmatory allergy blood or skin prick test.
In the absence of such obvious physical reactions however, a different question sometimes arises for parents: “Is a food allergy contributing to my child’s eczema and would an allergy test help to find out?” (more…)
Dr William (Bill) Frankland, aged 106, has helped transform our understanding of allergies during his long career in medicine. A pioneer in the field, Dr Frankland popularised the pollen count to help clinicians and patients understand what triggers their seasonal allergies. Originally published on the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust blog and reproduced here with permission, he reflects on his career and working for the NHS for 70 years.
People often ask me, how is it that I’ve lived until 106. All I can say is I’ve come close to death so many times but somehow I’ve always managed to miss it and that’s why I’m still here.
I was born in 1912, six weeks early. My identical twin brother and I weighed three pounds one ounce each but we both survived – he died in 1995, at age 83. As an early baby, that’s the first time I survived against the odds.
I first encountered hay fever when I was a child. I grew up in the Lake District where my brother and I spent our summers helping a local farmer with his hay. One day, I told my brother my eyes were itchy and I couldn’t go on. “You’re feeble,” he said. It took me 30 years before I realised I had a real problem with summer hay fever and about 90 years to grow out of that allergy.
With the Wimbledon finals taking place on its famous grass courts this weekend, allergy expert Dr Mohamed Shamji explains how there may be hope for hay fever sufferers.
Strawberries and cream, queuing and of course, tennis are all the things you would associate with the Wimbledon Tennis Championships that climaxes this week in London. This tournament traditionally marks the end of the grass court season, which for the relief of many hay fever sufferers also signals the grass pollen season is drawing to a close. Headlines, guidance and warnings about hay fever are abundant at this time of year due to the large socio-economic impact it presents and here at Imperial College London, we are hoping to reduce this through our research into the disease and how we can treat it. (more…)