NHS data reveals significant jump in admissions for severe allergic reactions

August 1st, 2023
NHS data reveals significant jump in admissions for severe allergic reactions

NHS data has revealed a significant jump in the number of people requiring treatment for severe allergic reactions.

Figures from the NHS, which have been evaluated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), show that case numbers have doubled in the last 20 years.

Today, more than 25,000 people per year visit hospitals in England due to serious allergic reactions. There has been a particularly steep rise in the number of people experiencing severe food allergies. Data suggests that hospital admissions in England rose from less than 2,000 per year in the early 2000s to over 5,000 per year in 2022/2023.
The figures have compelled health officials to issue updated guidance to remind people of how severe reactions can be and encourage them to recognise symptoms and take swift action.

The data indicates that anaphylaxis has become more common but it is important to note that the population has increased in size in the last twenty years, which could account for some of the additional cases. Anaphylaxis is a severe adverse reaction to an allergen, which can be fatal. This extreme reaction can develop at any age and must be handled very carefully. Anyone who experiences anaphylactic shock should carry two adrenaline pens, also known as EpiPens. Individuals should be aware of how to use the pens and it is also a good idea to show friends and family members how they work so that they can administer them in the event of an emergency.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include breathing difficulties, tightness in the chest, wheezing, swelling of the tongue and throat, confusion, feeling dizzy and extreme tiredness. Those who are at risk of a serious reaction should administer their adrenaline shot immediately by injecting the outer thigh and call 999. For those who are with somebody who has a severe reaction, the best thing to do after calling an ambulance is to position the individual on the floor and raise their legs to increase blood flow. If there is no improvement in symptoms within five minutes of the first dose, the second adrenaline pen should be administered. The individual should not sit or stand, as this can cause blood pressure to drop.

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