Launch bids to boost allergy awareness

Millions of allergy sufferers are to be targeted by a new magazine that aims to raise allergy awareness.

Next week’s launch of A by magazine publisher Electric INK, on behalf of the charity Allergy UK, has been timed to coincide with National Food Allergy and Food Intolerance Week.

A total of 100,000 copies will be sent out initially to members of Allergy UK, selected allergy clinics and retail outlets, but circulation will be extended if it proves a success.

The title will target healthcare professionals as well as sufferers, providing real-life stories and advice on how to deal with allergies and who to contact.

The first issue features Viscount Simon, who had to be given oxygen after he was affected by a work colleague’s change of shampoo and Cindy Courtney, who struggles with relationships because she has an allergy to latex and sperm. It also features the story of teenager Jennifer Martin, who was so tired she could barely lift her head from the pillow and missed so much school she feared she would not be able to take her GCSEs – until food intolerance tests found she was allergic to carrots.

According to the magazine, 20 million people in the UK suffer from allergies, costing the UK £900m a year at GP level alone. The number of allergy sufferers is rising at 5 per cent a year, while peanut allergies have trebled in the past four years.

Allergy UK chief executive Muriel Simmons said research showed the health service had “failed to do enough to raise awareness” and give sufferers the help and information they needed. “While more people are being diagnosed with allergic conditions, they are just being left to get on with it and suffer in silence. A magazine will give these people a voice and help them manage their conditions more effectively,” she said.

The British Allergy Foundation relaunched its 84-page in-house title Allergy Free in 1999. After six months it relaunched again and changed its name to Living Allergy Free.

By Ruth Addicott

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