Nearly half of people with an allergy – 43% – have not been able to sleep and more than a third have not been able to concentrate at work because of their condition, a survey has suggested.
The research, by the Consumer Health Information Centre (CHIC), also found 17% of those polled always take medication to alleviate their symptoms.
More people admit to suffering from allergies now than did so five years ago, with the UK reporting the highest level of allergies in Europe.
The CHIC has estimated almost 20 million people in the UK suffer from an allergy, with one in five cancelling social engagements because of their allergy, and more than a quarter changing clothes to hide a skin allergy.
Despite this many people wait too long to treat symptoms and one in five never take any medication for it at all.
Dr Paul Stillman, CHIC adviser, said: “The impact that allergy symptoms have on people’s sleep, concentration at work and even their social life is huge. We must ensure that people with allergies have the best information and advice on how to manage their symptoms.”