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More and more people in the UK are developing allergies. As a result the medical world is intensifying its efforts to understand the causes and hopefully identifying cures. In the meantime there are numerous steps you can take to help yourself and in particular minimize your chances of experiencing an attack.

Dust Mite Allergies

Dust mites are as you might suspect the tiny organisms that live in dust. This is perhaps the most common of allergies suffered in the UK. Although you can do little about this when you are out and about, you can take steps to help make your home as comfortable as possible. The main ways to significantly reduce the likelihood of an attack are:

- use dust mite covers on your pillow and mattress

- wash your pillows and sheets at a high temperature as often as possible

- regularly wipe all other parts of your bed with a wet cloth

- try to avoid heavy quilted duvets which are prone to dust-mites

- keep pets out of the bedroom

- if possible only open your windows when you have to

- regularly hoover your carpets

- thoroughly wash carpets from time to time

- try to use furnishings that can be thoroughly washed

- avoid heavily stuffed or padded furniture

Remember, you will be at greatest risk of an attack when you are actually cleaning. In the process of getting rid of the little pests you will be sending them airborne. If you are a dust-mite sufferer you should always wear a mask when you are cleaning.

Food allergies

The safest option if you suffer from a food allergy is to never eat out. But who wants to eat at home every day of the year. Although there will always be a risk when you don't know exactly how the food has been prepared, there are ways to help you stay safe when you eat out. The main steps you should take are:

- avoid buffets because of the close proximity of the foods

- avoid restaurants that serve ready made meals

- avoid bakeries because of the close proximity of the foods

- make use of local societies and professional such as your dietician for recommendations

- avoid restaurant types where the food you are allergic to is heavily used e.g. nuts and Asian restaurants or fish and seafood restaurants

The most important thing to remember is don't be afraid to ask. Don't take chances. If you are worried, don't eat it. And if you feel you can't trust the restaurant staff just get up and leave. Who cares - you wont be coming back again and there's probably another restaurant next door.

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