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Who is at risk of anaphylaxis?

If a patient has suffered a significant allergic reaction in the past – whatever the cause – then any future reaction is also likely to be severe. 

If a significant reaction to a tiny dose occurs, or a reaction has occurred on skin contact, this might also be a sign that a larger dose may trigger a severe reaction. It is particularly important that those with asthma as well as allergies are seen by an allergy specialist, as asthma can put a patient in a higher risk category. Where foods such as nuts, seeds, shellfish and fish are concerned, even mild symptoms should not be ignored because future reactions may be severe.

Some stats about how many people are believed to have food allergies

  • 6–8 % of children have a proven food allergy (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2011)
  • 2-4% of adults have a food allergy
  • Cases of peanut allergy alone have tripled in the last decade
  • UK hospital admissions for food allergies have increased by 500% since 1990 (Gupta, 2007)
  • Every year around 20 people in the UK will die from anaphylaxis (about 10 of these from food)
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