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WHAT IS AN ALLERGY
An allergy develops when the immune system recognises and responds to something in the environment that is normally harmless. These substances are known as allergens and can be found in foods, airborne particles such as dust mite or pollens, insect venoms and medications.
The most common causes of allergic reactions in young children are food. In particular:
Other causes are bee or other insect stings (
wasps, Jack Jumper Ants), medication and
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT PROBLEMS ?
Common and Increasing
Allergic diseases are among the fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia.
The frequency of allergic disease has approximately doubled in the last 25 years.
Allergic diseases most commonly present in children and adolescents and often persist into adulthood.
Almost 20% of the Australian population has an allergic disease and this prevalence is increasing.
It is predicted that by 2050 the number of patients affected by allergic diseases in Australia will increase by 70% to 7.7 million
In per capita terms, the total cost for person with allergies is approximately $7,400 per annum. This includes time off work, hospital and
medical services and treatments.
There is a lack of public awareness, (but improving), about the impact and appropriate management of allergic diseases.
Access to care is difficult, even in metropolitan areas, due to the high number of patients and low number of appropriately trained health care
professionals, resulting in long waiting times to see a specialist.
10% of children under 1 year of age
4 - 8% of children under 5 year of age
1 ~ 2% of adults
Peanut allergies in children have doubled in the past 5 years
2011, the HealthNuts study based in Melbourne, Victoria
Food allergy overall - 10% of children under one year of
age will develop food allergy
Peanut allergy - 3%
Raw egg - 8.8%
Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis (severe life threatening allergic reaction) have increased 4-fold in the last 20 years.
Food-induced anaphylaxis has doubled in the last 10 years
In children Major causes :-
Peanut and tree nuts
Death from anaphylaxis remains rare. All food-induced anaphylaxis fatalities occurred between 8 and 35 years of age, despite the majority of
food-induced anaphylaxis admissions occurring in children less than 5 years of age
Eczema (also known as Atopic dermatitis) occurs in around
~ 20% of infants
~ 10% of children
~ 7% of adults
Its prevalence is increasing worldwide. It is a chronic condition, with no cure. Eczema can profoundly affect the quality of life of patients
Children with food allergy commonly have atopic dermatitis (eczema) in early childhood. Food allergy may make eczema worse for some
individuals, but is not the cause.
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
Many sufferers and doctors under-estimate its impact on day to day living. Allergic rhinitis in some individuals may lead to impaired
concentration, impaired sleep, and reduced work, school, sporting or driving performance
18% of Australians have allergic rhinitis with significant impact on quality of life.
1/10 children aged 6-7 years
1/6 children aged 13-14 years
Patients with allergic rhinitis are three times more likely to have asthma and more than 80% of allergic asthmatics have allergic rhinitis .
More than 80% of allergic asthmatics have allergic rhinitis .
Stinging insect allergy
Just under 3 % have had episodes after a bee producing more than just swelling ie a generalised reaction.
Approximately 2 deaths/year in Australia, are from bee sting anaphylaxis
Jack Jumper Ant
Mainly southern Australia/Tasmania
Copyright © Dr David A Cutting 2015
Apologies - taking longer than expected!! Look at INFORMATION & links tab at left for links to some good sites - David