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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
Doctors warn of allergy risks
Sneeze
Some allergies cause mild reactions
Doctors have launched a campaign to warn patients about the potential risks of allergies.

The Doctor Patient Partnership (DPP) says that one in 10 people are unaware that some allergies can be fatal.

The campaign will encourage patients to seek medical advice if they experience an allergic reaction.

Doctors are also hoping to explain the differences between intolerances and allergies to patients.

Less than half of those questioned in a survey for the DPP said they knew the difference between allergies and intolerances.

But doctors believe it is important patients are aware of the differences if they are to seek the right medical treatment.


It is important for people to have a clear understanding of the nature of allergies

Dr Ian Banks, DPP

Severe allergic reactions may require urgent medical treatment, whereas intolerances can be "cured" by simply avoiding that particular substance.

The DPP, part of the British Medical Association, has launched an information leaflet to educate patients on allergies.

Doctors hope the leaflet will correct people's misconceptions about allergies.

Its survey of 1,000 people across the UK showed that 43% incorrectly believed that allergies are with a person for life.

Two out of five thought that allergies are inherited from parents.

The leaflet is also designed to stop people from immediately rushing to their GP when they suffer an intolerance.

But at the same time it highlights the importance of seeking immediate attention if they experience a severe allergic reaction.

Dr Ian Banks of the DPP said the leaflet will help people to make appropriate choices about treatment.

"It is important for people to have a clear understanding of the nature of allergies, what is likely to cause them and how to recognise symptoms.

"This will allow them to make appropriate choices about seeking help and enable them to manage their allergies."

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