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I have a cruder suggestion here

The wider availability of foods from around the world and an increase in the number of birch trees being planted are two of the factors behind the doubling of hospital admissions in England for life-threatening allergic reactions in the past 20 years, the UK’s leading allergy charity has said.

Amena Warner, head of clinical services at Allergy UK, the leading national patient charity for people living with all types of allergy, told the Guardian the rise was “hugely worrying”.

In earlier decades those with significant allergies to the world would already be dead.

Now they’re not because treatments exist. Therefore there are more to be treated. Darwin’s Sieve has been thwarted on this particular one.

33 thoughts on “I have a cruder suggestion here”

  1. Have you noticed that ‘something must be done’ *always* trumps the ‘do nothing’ option – which is usually not even considered. It’s almost as if people are trying to justify their jobs.

  2. Rapeseed, that’s what people are really allergic to.

    I developed an intolerance to nightshade plants, but that was part of an overall immunodeficiency. That possibility should not be ignored when looking at such matters as”allergies”.

  3. For us ‘tinfoilhatconspiracytheorynutjob’ types it’s due to the vaxxes…..or chemicals in the water…..or drugs in the food…..

  4. Mmmm… Allergies must be top of the list for fashionable medical complaints. Everyone & her sister is claiming to have several these days. All part of being ‘different”.

  5. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Measuring just about anything health-statistics-related in 2020, 2021, or 2022 and comparing to previous years is a wash.

  6. Like Bloke on A720, I never heard of most of these allergies before the turn of the century or so.

    It’s possible people suffer less from allergies when the calendar year begins with 19.

  7. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    It’s also possible to think of extremely trivial explanations for this. How much, one wonders, is due to the angioedema side effect of ACE-inhibitors or ARBs used by millions more Brits this year than 20 years ago?

  8. @Steve “It’s possible people suffer less from allergies when the calendar year begins with 19.”

    Cast your mind back 30 years or so. You couldn’t open a “news”paper without reading about somebody who was allergic to the twentieth century. I just assumed they all got better as New Year’s Eve 2000 ticked over to New Year’s Day 2001.

  9. Theophrastus (2066)

    My hunch is the increase in caesarean births and in greater household cleanliness are resulting in damaged immune systems. Children need to play in dirt and live with pets.

  10. Surely this will be banned as racist.

    After all, if people are different enough to react differently to different foods, they might also have different intellects and abilities.

  11. +1 Theo

    You’ve got to eat a peck of dirt before you die. Growing up in the 60s, I don’t remember anyone at school with an allergy, certainly not to the point where someone opening a pack of peanuts in the same room would be a death sentence. Childhood asthma was rare, but a serious illness.

  12. I wonder which month of the year has seen the greatest increase, and which the least. If Allergy UK don’t know, it’s not a serious research organisation

  13. ” greater household cleanliness are resulting in damaged immune systems. ”
    I’d say there’s an awful lot in that. It’s so much damaged, as such, but insufficiently challenged.

  14. Caesarian sections probably not to blame. It’s common practice now to do a vaginal sweep and smear some of the gunk on the newborn.

    The development of the immune system is still poorly understood. Decline in breast feeding? Excessive cleanliness? Shorter outdoor exposure? Social distancing (in several respects)?

    A runny nose in an 18 month old is a sign of good health, just like a wet nose for a dog.

  15. Come to think of it, the rise in allergies has coincided with the decline in smoking. How I would laugh if it turned out that second hand smoke was good for babies.

  16. ” smoke was good for babies.”
    Smoke from candles apparently is. As long as they’re the essential oils scented ones, one’s told. Repeatedly.

  17. Obviously the decline in family size means less health-giving smoke from the candles on siblings’ birthday cakes; where’s my research grant?

  18. Isn’t nicotine supposed to suppress the immune system, and thereby have an anti-inflammatory effect? And nicotine is present in cigarette smoke.

    I’d suggest that the decline in smoking would indeed be a good place to begin when investif=gating the rise in inflammatory allergic reactions.

  19. Vivaldi had severe severe asthma…fortunately he was from a big family and became wealthy enough to pay his sister to look after him. They do say that its quite likely it actually lead to his virtuosity and creativity, not being able to do much else.

  20. I had never suffered hay fever until I moved to the Cambridge area. It was my GP who diagnosed it, saying it was common for incomers to start suffering from hay fever. I wondered whether it could be pollen from all the willows by the rivers and fens? Or the silver birches near our house? Or the fields of rape? The apple and pear orchards? … (Probably not the latter since they’ve been built over since then but my hay fever hasn’t departed.)

    You’d think that with many doctors at Addenbrooke’s looking for nicely undemanding little research topics somebody mighty have solved the riddle.

    I can eat crab, I’m delighted to say, which my father couldn’t. I still worry a bit about Brazil nuts but wonder whether my nut problem isn’t them but rather “off” hazelnuts. No probs with walnuts or almonds – or even hazelnut chocolate where I assume the manufacturer has some way of rejecting “off” nuts.

    For what it’s worth, when I was a boy “allergies” were thought to be a particularly American affliction.

  21. The increase in planting birch trees? Is it because we are installing more saunas, or are we contemplating a reintroduction of corporal punishment (by birching)?

  22. Have a look at the infant mortality statistics – The difference between 1950 and today is quite large, and further back it gets huge. Today, it’s 0.4% die before reaching five years old. In 1950 it was 4.4%. In 1900 it was 22.8%, and in 1800 it was 32.9%. That could conceal quite a lot of deaths for which an allergy was the main or a contributing cause.

    @dearieme – “You’d think that with many doctors at Addenbrooke’s looking for nicely undemanding little research topics somebody mighty have solved the riddle.”

    It could be quite difficult to prove. It’s not like you can deliberately pick people at random at birth and subject them to different conditions to see what matters.

  23. “It could be quite difficult to prove. ” Aye, but that rarely seems to disconcert the sort of people who do socio-medical research.

    Imagine: pick a study group e.g. new trainee doctors arriving at the hospital one summer. Quiz them all about hay fever. A year later quiz them again. Plot the results against where they live. Yippee, those nearest lots of xyz suffer more hay fever. This sort of dross is churned out by medics the whole time.

  24. Paul says
    Isn’t nicotine supposed to suppress the immune system, and thereby have an anti-inflammatory effect? And nicotine is present in cigarette smoke.

    This could be why cigarette smokers reportedly overcame covid more quickly. Get the bug, go to bed, stop smoking, your immune system bounces back to full speed…

  25. I assumed that the benefits of smoking for Covid were down to it suppressing the excessive inflammatory reaction to the bug which makes you feel ill.

    But I’m happy to admit I’m guessing here.

  26. ‘Shirley, Brexit and ‘climate change’ have to be included in the blame game?’

    Tut, tut Penseivat. I’m now reliably informed by the UN chief that it’s ‘global boiling’.

  27. Maybe allergies should be included along with pronouns.

    “Xer/xes, meat, brexiteers, waycists”

    Just a matter of time.

  28. One of the big allergies is peanuts – everyone’s child seems to be allergic to them. This is partly because flawed advice was given to parents; we were told no peanuts before age 3, lest they develop an allergy. Very recently they discovered the opposite, that early exposure is best. Now the advice is to give your baby peanut butter at age 4-6 months to prevent allergies.

    I imagine pollen allergies have a similar problem. On the rare occasions when infants go outside these days, they are bundled into cars equipped with pollen filters. The soft fruits they eat are grown in polytunnels, sheltered from any pollen blowing in the wind.

    I can’t explain allergies to dust mites using the same logic; but I imagine there is some degree of cross-sensitisation from pollen and/or nuts.

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