England Sees Soaring Numbers of Hospitalizations for Severe Allergies

August 28, 2023 11:28:14

A leading national patient United Kingdom charity is concerned with the “hugely worrying” rise of allergy-related hospitalizations in England. Dangerous allergic reactions in the UK have risen in recent years and now average around 25,000 NHS hospital stays every year. According to health officials, the rate of allergy reactions in the country has grown by more than two times over the past two decades.

Allergy UK posits that the increase in allergy admission rates is due to the influx of a wide variety of foods from around the globe coupled with a surge in birch tree numbers. Data from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shows that the number of allergy and anaphylaxis admissions in the UK has more than doubled from 12,361 admissions two decades ago to around 25,721 admissions in 2022/23. Hospital visits for food-induced anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions went up from 1,871 in 2992/23 to 5,013 in 2022.

Allergy UK head of clinical services Amena Warner explains that the introduction of different varieties of food from other countries to the region is increasing the rate of allergy-related hospitalizations. People are becoming increasingly allergic to foods such as chickpeas, kiwis and lentils, which aren’t part of the traditional British diet and originated from other regions.

The expansion of the food and beverage industry to encompass a plethora of tastes and flavors also means that eating out also increases the risk of an allergic reaction, Warner says, pointing to a recent call where an individual suffered an anaphylactic reaction after visiting a gin bar. The individual suffered from a cashew nut allergy and went into anaphylaxis when he drank gin with a light coating of pink peppercorn at the top.

UK residents are also suffering higher rates of pollen fruit syndrome due to the increase in new birch trees being planted in the country. Hypoallergenic trees such as birch pump out tons of pollen during the summer to increase their odds of propagation, but this repeatedly exposes people to pollen, eventually sensitizing them and triggering allergic reactions. This can lead to symptoms such as swelling of the tongue and throat, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing, and pale-blue or grey lips, tongue and skin.

In extreme cases, allergies can cause fatal reactions such as when a 15-year-old lost her life due to an allergic reaction to sesame in a Pret baguette.

The MHRA noted that children aged 15 years and younger registered the highest increase in food allergy diagnoses. The agency urged the government to create a national strategy for dealing with the growing problem of allergies.

Publicly traded companies such as BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) are also striving to develop immunotherapies aimed at meaningfully addressing the growing burden of allergies around the world.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/BVXV

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