Number of cases of children hospitalised with severe allergic reactions in England has gone up by 72 per cent over the last six years, figures show.
The NHS Digital data, obtained by Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, show 1746 cases of hospital admissions with anaphylactic shock among children aged 18 and below in 2018-19, compared with 1015 admissions in 2013-14.
Overall, including adults, an increase of 34 per cent recorded during the same period.
The health region with the highest number of children admitted to hospital with anaphylaxis is London, where the number of cases has risen from 180 in 2013-14 to 480 in 2018-19, an increase of 166.7 per cent.
The increase is 200 per cent among the children aged 10 and below.
“These figures confirm what we know is a worrying increase in severe food allergy. We should not forget that behind each of these numbers is a child or adult who has suffered the most severe consequences of an anaphylactic shock,” said Professor Hasan Arshad, Chair in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Southampton University.
East Midlands region recorded the second-highest increase in the number of children hospitalised, followed by East of England, West Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, South West and South East.
The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation was set up by Tanya Ednan-Laperouse and her husband Nadim following the death of their 15-year-old daughter Natasha, who died after suffering a severe allergic reaction after eating a Pret a Manger baguette containing hidden sesame seeds in July 2016.
“These terrifying figures show we are facing an allergy emergency,” said Tanya Ednan-Laperouse. “The number of children with allergies and suffering severe allergic reactions is rising year-on-year at a deeply alarming rate.”
“Scientists don’t yet understand why the number of children with allergies are on the rise which is why it is vital that we invest in large scale research projects into both the causes and potential cures,” she said.