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April 13, 2019

Food allergy in Pakistan never given due attention


April 13, 2019

Islamabad : Pakistan Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society (PAAIS) that is working as Pakistan Chapter of World Allergy Organization is organising an awareness walk here in F-9 Park on Saturday (today) in connection with World Allergy Week being observed from April 7 to 13 around the globe.

The food allergy in Pakistan has never been given due attention despite the fact that the problem has a significant impact on quality of life of those who are allergic and their families. Experts say it is undeniably a public health issue and a considerable financial burden on affected individuals and families who require on-going medical care, often for several allergic disease states.

The life of food allergy patients and their families is driven by fear of accidental exposures and consequential fatal reaction to foods, said Coordinator PAAIS Dr. Muhammad Inam while talking to ‘The News’ on Friday.

He added although there is no permanent cure to this ailment but, avoidance of food allergens is the only proven treatment along with rescue therapy in case of emergency. Proper diagnosis and timely treatment can help in disease management and improved quality of life, he said.

The WAO has announced ‘Global Problem of Food Allergy’ as the topic for the World Allergy Week 2019 that is dedicated to raising awareness of the problem.

Dr. Inam who is one of the only two PhD degree holders in Pakistan in food allergy said the PAAIS under its founder president Dr. Shahid Abbas is actively mobilizing the community to create awareness about the growing problem of food allergy throughout the country.

Studies reveal that food allergy is an allergic emergency that typically occurs within the first few minutes to two hours and can produce the sudden onset of itching, hives (urticaria), swelling of the face, tongue or back of the throat that may be accompanied by difficulty in breathing and light headedness and hypotension (low blood pressure).

According to WAO, the foods causing most of the significant allergic reactions include peanut, tree nuts, finned fish, shellfish, milk, egg, wheat, soy, and seeds (commonly sesame). Allergy to foods other than shellfish and fruits and vegetables is more common in children than in adults. This includes milk, egg, wheat, and soy allergies. The prevalence of food allergy has been increasing, taking us to what is being termed as the “second wave of the allergy epidemic”.

Dr. Inam said the general public is invited to come and join hands with PAAIS in the awareness walk planned for Saturday. A google form is available, which can be filled online if anyone is interested. The walk will start at 4:30 p.m. from the E-9 side gate and all participants will be given certificates of appreciation, he said.

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