Hay fever allergies soar22nd September 2008
New statistics have shown that diagnoses of hay fever increased sharply between the year 2001 and 2005.
A GP database, QResearch, showed diagnoses of allergic rhinitis - including pollen, animal hair and dust mite allergies - went up by one third during the period.
The UK research team said that more knowledge about the condition among GPs most likely added to the increase in numbers, but there was also a "genuine increase in the condition" .
Rhinitis can cause sufferers to sneeze, and to experience sore eyes and constantly runny noses.
Professor Aziz Sheikh and his team looked at the database of over nine million patients in order to determine patterns of diagnosis.
They found prescriptions for medications used to treat the condition increased by 42%. The number of antihistamine prescriptions increased by 45%.
The research was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
"The increases are quite marked over a relatively short period of time," said Professor Sheikh, who holds the position of primary care researcher at Edinburgh University.
"We know that in people with allergic rhinitis there's a significant impairment in quality of life and getting the right treatment is important."
He said that there was "still under-diagnosis of this problem" and called for better GP understanding of the condition. He added that antihistamine prescription was not necessarily the "most effective treatment."
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It's a nice reminder for GPs that they need to keep up to date on the management of what can be a life-impairing condition."
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Title: Hay fever allergies soar
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 8458
Date Added: 22nd Sep 2008