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44% of population have allergies

Allergies affect almost half the population, with hayfever being the most common, research has claimed.

The poll, by market analyst Mintel, found that 44% of people in the UK were affected by an allergy, with 48% of the figure suffering from multiple conditions.

The results support suspicions that the country's allergy rate has grown in recent years, although scientists have no idea why this should be so.

Those under 35 were the most likely to have an allergy (48%), compared with 37% of people aged 55 to 64.

Just over half (51%) of women were found to have at least one allergy - significantly higher than the 37% rate found in men.

Alexandra Richmond, senior health and beauty analyst at Mintel, claimed ignorance about the conditions was dangerous, saying: "A lack of professional opinion may see them wrongly believing that they are allergic to a number of things when in fact they are not."

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