Childhood food allergy on the rise

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 11th March 2010

Dr Raymond Mullins, president of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), warned that food allergy in children was dramatically on the rise, and that Australia would need to be ready.

“Australian hospitalisation rates due to food allergy have increased dramatically in the last decade, with recent evidence that peanut allergy has significantly increased in Australia, as it has in other developed countries,” Dr Mullins said.

According to Dr Mullins, as many as 15000 children born each year in Australia – up to six percent –  will develop an anaphylactic food allergy before the age of five.  Anaphylaxis is an unpredictable and potentially life-threatening condition.

“Lots of work is being done to find reasons for the increase, and ways to intervene, they are still on the remote horizon,” said Dr Mullins. “It’s a public health problem of epidemic proportions.”

ASCIA has launched an online training tool, aimed at schools and childcare services, to offer training on the treatment and management of anaphylaxis for those looking after children. The training module is available online at <a href=””>the ASCIA website</a>.