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Friday, December 4, 2009


BBC Knowledge to air programme on allergies.

In Britain and America, cases of asthma, eczema and hayfever have trebled in the last three decades, and food allergies have increased by over 500%. Historically, allergies barely registered on the health agenda, but today with 1.2 billion allergy sufferers globally, it is a phenomenon that is impossible to ignore. Not only are the number of allergy sufferers increasing, but the allergies are getting more severe.

Allergy Planet, due to be featured on BBC Knowledge (channel 251 on DStv) on December 9 at 21h30 takes a look at the question: Have we have created a world mismatched to our biology, and are allergies the price we have to pay for the privileged lifestyles we have chosen?

Driven by the lives of characters such as eight-year-old Danny, for whom a life-threatening dog allergy makes venturing out of the house a danger, and 10-year-old Margharita, whose entire world is dictated by the 896 things she is allergic to, Allergy Planet discovers what life with allergies is really like.

Travelling from the most remote island in the world to the industrial heartlands of Texas, from the farms of Poland to the African savannah, the film discovers how allergies are influenced by our genes; witnesses the potential damage caused by the environment; and discovers why some allergies may be all in the mind. The film delves into cutting-edge research which suggests that the way we treat our skin barrier may be more important than we ever realised, and discovers the protective effect of the unique microbial ecosystem that lives on us and in us.