The rate of emergency department visits for anaphylaxis doubled from 2005 to 2014, according to a Mayo Clinic study that used information from a nationwide administrative claims database.
The highest increase was seen in kids aged 5-17 – the rate of anaphylaxis to all triggers in that age group went up by 196 percent, while reactions to food went up by 285 percent.
It’s unclear how much of the increase can be attributed to a better understanding of anaphylaxis and more accurate coding by doctors. Authors say the disproportionate increase in anaphylaxis in children and infants points to a need for greater awareness and better diagnoses to protect this group.
The study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice in November 2016, included data on 56,000 ER visits for anaphylaxis.
The largest affected patient group (42.8 percent) was between the ages of 35 and 64 years old, and anaphylaxis increased across the population at the rate of 124 percent. Most cases of anaphylaxis had unidentified triggers (56.9 percent) while food triggers were the second most common factor at 27.1 percent across the age spectrum.
Anaphylaxis to medications also increased substantially. While the majority of those reacting to drugs were older, the biggest spike was among children under the age of 4.