Australia and New Zealand have among the highest prevalence of allergic disorders in the developed world with almost 20 per cent of the population allergic to something. There are several theories as to why this is the case (obesity rate, climate change, a delay of foods in childhood and a lack of exposure to illnesses and bacteria have all been suggested) but none have been confirmed.

When an acute allergic reaction occurs, it is known as anaphylaxis.

Did you Know?

  • A study of hospital admissions from 2005 to 2013 found a 50 per cent jump in children with anaphylaxis with a 110 per cent increase in rates in older children (aged five to 14).
  • While the majority of food-induced anaphylaxis hospital admissions occur in children less than 5 years of age, all food-induced anaphylaxis fatalities occurred between 8 and 35 years of age.
  • Although food allergy is common in childhood, there’s a good chance of outgrowing it, especially allergies to eggs, milk, soy and wheat. The food allergies most likely to stick around for life are allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, seeds and seafood.
  • According to the Australasian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis usually occurs within 20 minutes to two hours of exposure to the trigger.
  • Bee string anaphylaxis is estimated to result in approximately two deaths per year in Australia. The other main cause of anaphylaxis death include drugs (48 per cent) with food-induced anaphylaxis fatalities accounting for six per cent of fatalities.

Anaphylaxis: Libby’s Story

Anaphylaxis is something which you can’t predict and, for many families, it is also something that is not in the least bit concerning.  After all, if your child doesn’t have allergies, then why should you worry? This is exactly what Libby thought, until she witnessed someone she loved nearly lose his life due to an anaphylactic reaction. Libby shares her story with PakMag.

Having two kids who don’t suffer from allergies I had never thought much about food allergies or anaphylaxis,” Libby tells us. “We never had to park in the hospital car park to give peanut butter for the first time as we have no family history of severe allergies.”

However, often finding out someone has an allergy only occurs when the person comes into contact with the substance. And the first encounter can be a very terrifying one for both the child and the family.

“The dangerous reaction that could happen had never crossed my mind until my nephew had an anaphylactic reaction to an insect bite. My nephew was blue and unconscious within eight minutes and that image will never be far from my mind. We didn’t know what insect had bitten him until he suffered for a second time and we were able to identify that ant bites had caused the reaction.”

Libby suggests not letting it get this far. It’s important for all parents to know what to do, just in case.

“Our family has now completed a paediatric first aid course to learn about severe allergic reactions and life-saving CPR skills,” Libby explains. “Because you really just never know.”

So what do we need to know?

There is a Triple A Management Plan for anaphylaxis that only takes a moment to memorise and put into place:

  • Avoidance – avoid whatever your child is allergic to.
  • Awareness – raise awareness with those around you of your child’s allergies.
  • Action – administer a shot from an Epi-pen and then call 000.

For more information on Anaphylaxis or to learn CPR contact Little Lives Paediactric First Aid – 0428656970.