Emergency department visits and hospital admissions for food-induced anaphylaxis among children increased by almost 30 percent during a five-year period in Illinois, according to new research published last week in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
The study, which was funded by FARE, showed increases across the board – age, gender, race/ethnicity, insurance type, metropolitan status, hospital type and allergenic food. These findings reinforce the fact that food allergies affect children of all ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Visits were most frequent in each year for Asian children and those with private health insurance. Researchers found the highest annual percent increase (44 percent) among Hispanic children, who previously had the lowest reported cases of food allergies.
The team at Northwestern studied data from 1,893 emergency department visits at about 200 hospitals in Illinois from 2008-12. The study showed an annual percent increase of 29.1 percent from 6.3 emergency department visits and hospital admissions per 100,000 children in 2008 to 17.2 in 2012. These findings are consistent with earlier studies showing a rise in hospitalizations related to food allergy reactions among children. The most common food allergens linked to emergency treatment were tree nuts, peanuts and milk.
“Ensuring timely diagnosis by the physician and education about recognition and management of severe and potentially fatal reactions is critical,” said lead study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, in a press release. “We need targeted education to all families and public entities including schools, camps and restaurants because anaphylaxis can happen anywhere and at any time.”
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Related: Free webinar from FARE on Wednesday, July 15 at 1pm ET. “Emergency Treatment of Anaphylaxis: Trends in Care and Steps to Improve It Among EMS Agencies and Hospitals.” Register today!