What characterises multiple allergies or sensitivities from true allergies is the fact that the patient is affected by a wide range of allergens and reacts with a large number of symptoms.
It can be known by different names, such as multiple allergies syndrome, oral allergy syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), multiple allergic response syndrome (MARS), environmental illness, etc.
A true allergy like peanut allergy causes a swift and severe reaction that can be life threatening (anaphylaxis). Even a tiny trace of the culprit food will cause a reaction. It is however very unlikely that a person can have such a problem with a wide range of foods or other allergens. It is easily diagnosed and the patient can keep safe by avoiding the offending trigger. In extreme cases, the person will carry an epi-pen to use in case of anaphylactic shock.
On the other hand, multiple allergies like food intolerance are never life threatening but they can severely affect the quality of your life. The symptoms start slowly, gradually get worse until they reach a peak before slowly subsiding; and thus they last longer. It is difficult to diagnose because the allergens as well as the symptoms are wide ranging and there are no reliable tests.
In my case I have been suffering from environmental allergies (dust mite, chemical sensitivity, smoke, pollen, photosensitivity, solvents, non-cotton clothing, etc.) as well as food allergies (eggs and dairy products) and food intolerance (gluten, sugar, grains, pulses, read meat, fish, etc). The symptoms are just as abundant, from respiratory (asthma, rhinitis, chest infection) to chronic pain (headaches, abdominal pain, muscle pain, lower back pain) to skin disorders (eczema, dry skin, athlete’s foot, nail infections) to eye diseases (retinal detachment, myopia, cataracts, blepharitis, keratitis) to digestive problems (IBS including bloating, trapped wind, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, hemorroids) and last but not least psychological ailments (chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks).
There is a huge number of authority sites on the net that address this condition in more depth and expertise. In this blog I am only going to talk about my own multiple allergies, how it affects my life and how I am trying to cope with it. It is my wish that people who are similarly affected (hopefully not to the same extent) will find solace knowing they are not alone.
For those who want to learn more, I found a very useful report on the BBC website that states there is a significant increase in people affected by this condition and explains why this is happening.