Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
To date, there are no population-based epidemiologic studies providing information about the prevalence of food-induced anaphylaxis. However, statistics from the United Kingdom demonstrated an increase of anaphylaxis from 5.6 cases per 100000 hospital discharges in 1991–92 to 10.2 cases in 1994–95. The increase for the subcategory of food-induced anaphylaxis was above the overall increase in anaphylaxis. In the UK register of fatal anaphylactic reactions, all food-induced fatalities have been accompanied by respiratory problems with respiratory arrest. Atopic individuals with bronchial asthma and prior allergic reactions to the same food are at a particularly high risk. Not only peanuts, seafood and milk can induce severe, potentially lethal, anaphylaxis, but indeed a wide spectrum of foods, according to the different patterns of food sensitivity in different countries. Foods with “hidden” allergens and meals at restaurants are particularly dangerous for patients with food allergies. Similarly, schools, public places and restaurants are the major places of risk. However, the main factor contributing to a fatal outcome is the fact that the victims did not carry their emergency kit with adrenaline (epinephrine) with them. Therefore, we suggest that the pharmaceutical industry should reintroduce an adrenaline inhaler that is more effective, especially in asthmatic reactions.
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