5 Things You Need To Know About Food Allergies In Australia

There is a good chance that you, or someone you care about is affected by food allergies. According to the ABS, 17% of Australians now avoid particular foods due to an allergy or intolerance. That’s a whopping 3.7 million Australians!

Understanding the problem and knowing what to do is important, and could save someones life. So here are 5 things you need to know about food allergies in Australia.

1. Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance

Food Intolerance

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems.

Food Allergy

Food Allergy

Food allergies cause an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body causing a range of symptoms, which in some cases can be severe or life-threatening (anaphylaxis).

2. Food allergies can develop at any age

Food allergies are most common in children aged under 5 years old. Fortunately, many children ‘outgrow’ their allergy with time, however when food allergies develop for the first time in adults it usually persists.

1 in 10
Infants have food allergies

1 in 20
Children have food allergies
(Aged up to 5 )

2 in 100
Adults have food allergies

3. Hospital admissions from allergies have doubled

“Australia has one of the highest rates of documented food allergy and hospital anaphylaxis admissions in the developed world,” write researchers in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.

Over the last decade, hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have doubled in Australia, with admissions of children aged 0 to 4 years increasing 5 fold according to ASCIA. There have been 324 anaphylaxis deaths in Australia from 1997 to 2013, with 23 deaths from food related allergies according to the Allergen Bureau.

Increase in hospitalisations
from allergies

Increase in children hospitalised
from allergies

324 allergy deaths in Australia

Deaths from anaphylaxis

4. 90% of allergic reactions are caused by 9 foods

Peanut allergy

Peanuts

Egg allergy

Eggs

Cows Milk allergy

Cow’s Milk

Tree Nuts allergy

Tree Nuts

Sesame allergy

Sesame

Soy allergy

Soy

Soy allergy

Fish

Shellfish allergy

Shellfish

Wheat allergies

Wheat

5. Living with a food allergy

There is currently no cure for food allergies, which means strict avoidance is essential.
To reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to food, ASCIA recommends the following precautions.

Adrenaline AutoInjector

Carry an adrenaline autoinjector
(if prescribed)

ASCIA Action Plan

Carry a ASCIA Action Plan with you at all times

Know signs and symptoms of food allergies

Know the signs & symptoms
(mild, moderate and severe allergic reactions)

Read food labels

Read and understand food labels

Tell waiters food allergy

Tell wait staff of food allergies when eating out

Be aware of cross contamination in food

Be aware of cross contamination when preparing food

Know what to do when people have allergic reactions with CareMonkey

The problem with most allergy action plans is too few people have them, and when they do the plans are filed away and not easily accessible when needed in an emergency.

CareMonkey is an award-winning health and safety system that automatically keeps medical and emergency details up to date for any organisation with a duty of care. It makes these important details instantly available to authorised carers on their mobile devices in an emergency…so they know who to call, what to do, or what to tell an ambulance paramedic. CareMonkey automates the permission and consent form process too and can collect any other custom information. It’s used by schools, universities, in sport, in HR, scouts, church and youth groups, the disability sector and camps.

So get together an allergy action plan for you or your loved ones. Sign up to CareMonkey for free, and share your profile with your family, friends, and any organisation with a duty of care.