Number of people admitted to hospital with serious food allergies rises by more 10 per cent anually
Number of people admitted to hospital with serious food allergies rises by more than 10 per cent every year
- NHS figures show that a total of 5,357 hospital admissions took place, last year
- It’s an increase from 4,673 critical admissions in 2016 and 4,162 patients in 2015
- During 2017, potentially-fatal anaphylactic shock made-up a total of 1,768 cases
The number of people admitted to hospital after suffering a serious food allergy is rising by more than 10 per cent, every year.
Figures for NHS hospitals in England show a total of 5,357 admissions took place, last year – almost 15 every day – where the patient was made critically ill because of a reaction to their food.
That’s an an increase of 684 from 4,673 in 2016, which had already increased by 511 from 4,162 in 2015.
Increasing demand: A total of 5,357 admissions took place, last year – almost 15 every day
Meanwhile, in 2014, the total number of urgent hospital admissions were 3, 967, while those for 2013 and 2012 were 3,754 and 3,435 respectively.
In 1,768 of the cases, last year, the admission was because the patient had gone into anaphylactic shock, which can have fatal consequences if not treated in time.
Allergies to food have become much more common in recent years with nuts, dairy products, eggs, wheat and fish often branded as the major culprits.
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In the worst cases of food allergies, a known sufferer will carry a potentially life-saving adrenaline pen that can be used to inject them if they accidentally consume any of their known danger foods.
Food labelling has been improved in recent years so that people with a severe allergy can examine all the ingredients in an item to ensure they are safe.
Food allergies are believed to be responsible for the deaths of around ten people every year, with teenagers and people in their early 20s said to be at most risk as they make independent food choices for the first time.
Hard to swallow: In 2017, potentially-fatal anaphylactic shock made-up a total of 1,768 cases
In the last six years the number of people admitted to hospital suffering a severe anaphylactic shock as a result of food has risen from 1,258 to last year’s figure of 1,768, a rise of 41 percent.
For less severe food reactions the number of admissions has risen 65percent in six years from 2,177 to last year’s tally of 3,589.
The cost of providing DIY adrenalin shots, such as epi-pens, to people who suffer from severe allergies has now risen to £18million-per-year.
THE YEAR-ON-YEAR INCREASE: 2012-17
The number of patients admitted to hospital with serious food allergies:
3,435 in 2012
3,754 in 2013
3,967 in 2014
4,162 in 2015
4,673 in 2016
5,357 in 2017
A number of tragic fatal cases in recent years have highlighted the dangers posed to people who suffer from severe food allergies.
In 2016 restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman, 54, was jailed for six years for the manslaughter of takeaway customer Paul Wilson, 38.
Mr Zaman was said to have a ‘cavalier attitude’ to safety and had substituted a ground nut mix containing peanuts in some of the restaurant’s food.
Mr Wilson, who had an allergy to nuts, stated ‘no nuts’ when he ordered his food from the Indian Garden, in Easingwold, North Yorkshire.
The court heard that a week before the death trading standards officers had warned Zaman about the risks of using cheaper nut-based products which could trigger allergic reactions in customers.
Earlier this year an inquest heard how university student Shahida Shadid, 18, who had a dairy allergy, collapsed and died on a night out after eating a chicken burger that had been marinated in butter milk.
A friend administered her epi-pen to combat the reaction but Shahida, a student at Manchester University, died in hospital three days after eating the meal with friends at Almost Famous, in the city.
A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said: ‘The Food Standards Agency’s objective is to ensure the availability of safe food for consumers living with food allergies, intolerance and coeliac disease.
‘This is achieved through a range of activities, such as developing guidance documents for food business operators, retail, food establishments and consumers. These are aimed at advising and protecting food allergic individuals and helping them make informed choices about the foods they buy and eat.
‘The FSA also works closely with local authorities who are instrumental in enforcing allergen rules compliance in food business. We also have an active food allergy research programme that underpins our work as an evidence-based organisation.’
Meanwhile, autism may be linked to food allergies…
Autism really could be triggered by food allergies, according to new research.
A study of almost 200,000 children found that those on the disorder’s spectrum were over two and a half times more likely than others to suffer a food intolerance.
The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that a dysfunctioning immune system raises the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The University of Iowa study is one of few to look at food allergies – in addition to skin and respiratory reactions – bolstering the link between autism and allergies.
Based on his new findings, lead study author Dr Wei Bao, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa, said: ‘It is possible the immunologic disruptions may have processes beginning early in life, which then influence brain development and social functioning, leading to the development of ASD.’
The study analyzed health information gathered by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual survey of American households conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between 1997 and 2016, the researchers gathered data on children between the ages of three and 17.
They found that 11.25 percent of children reportedly diagnosed with ASD have a food allergy – much more than the 4.25 percent of children not on the spectrum who have a food allergy.
The finding was observational, based purely on survey results, so Dr Bao’s team could not establish whether or not an intolerance the causes autism.
But previous studies have suggested possible links including alterations in gut bacteria and increased production of antibodies and immune system overreactions.
These can lead to impaired brain function and neurodevelopmental abnormalities.
About one in every 59 children is on the autism spectrum, and the numbers seem to be growing in recent years.
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