Allergic conditions: introduction

These pages provide a guide to sources of information and statistics about the pattern of allergic and immunological conditions in Scotland.

Allergic conditions arise from an abnormal reaction by the body's immune defence system to an environmental trigger. Allergic conditions have a wide variety of impacts on health, ranging from those that sometimes cause only minor symptoms (such as hay fever or conjunctivitis), to those that may be chronic and disabling (such as asthma, eczema or urticaria) and those which may be severe and life-threatening (such as anaphylaxis). Most allergic conditions are treated in primary care; only a minority of people require hospital referral.

Some people may suffer from more than one allergic condition - for example asthma, eczema and hay fever often occur together. It is important to note that people with more than one condition are counted separately for each condition in the figures presented in these pages.

There is no definitive list of conditions that have an allergic basis, but many allergic conditions are included in the pages on data from primary and secondary care.

Acknowledgments. ScotPHO would like to thank Stephen Fenning for his work revising this section.