Emergency admissions due to allergies in the United States are increasing massively
An increasing number of children suffer from allergies, sometimes with severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) that can quickly become a medical emergency. US scientists have found a drastic increase in a recent evaluation of children's emergency rooms due to allergic reactions. “The number of children in the United States who had to go to the emergency room because of allergic reactions increased by 150% from 2010 to 2016,” reports the Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) of the study results.
The study by the American Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS) shockingly shows the increase in allergies in children. The emergency room increased by 150 percent in just seven years. Overall, the allergy rate increased from 23 per 10,000 children in 2010 to 47 per 10,000 children in 2016 in the same period (increase of 104 percent), according to the BCBS.
Allergic runny nose and rash are the most common reactions
About 18 percent of children in the United States had allergies in 2016, with the most common allergic complaints being rhinitis (affecting 9 percent of children) and dermatitis (affecting 5 percent of children), the BCBS experts explain. Rhinitis (runny nose) showed annual peak values that correspond to the seasons of pollen allergy and dust allergy in spring and autumn, while dermatitis (rash) remained relatively stable during the study period, the scientists continued.
Food allergies often cause emergencies
Allergic reactions to certain foods were found to account for almost half (47 percent) of allergy-related emergencies, with peanuts (22 percent), nuts and seeds (15 percent), and milk and eggs (6 percent) being the most common triggers. Fish and shellfish (3 percent) and fruit and vegetables (2 percent), on the other hand, are far less common cause of a medical emergency, according to the results of the investigation.
Parents should be prepared
A total of 53 percent of allergic emergency admissions were due to unknown foods or other unspecified causes (such as insect bites), which underlines the need for parents of vulnerable children to be prepared for a reaction at all times, the BCBS experts emphasize. According to the BVKJ, signs of an anaphylactic reaction can include breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure or loss of consciousness. In the worst case, there is a risk of life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
Ensure children's safety
The most serious allergic reactions in children have risen sharply, largely due to food and a steep increase in emergency rooms, the researchers report. Other regularly diagnosed allergies are still common symptoms, but the emergency admissions have hardly increased. The experts emphasize that the correct identification and diagnosis of childhood allergies remains an important step to ensure the safety of children.
"With more and more children suffering from food allergies and the risk of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, the availability of affordable medication and emergency care will be critical to children's health," said the BCBS. (fp)