Delighted to hear that food allergy death is less likely than murder

We really can’t thank Dr Robert Boyle enough for sharing the amazing news that we, the allergic community, are far more likely to die at the hands of a murderer than from a fatal anaphylactic attack.

Allergy death less likely than murder

Allergy death less likely than murder

I’m so pleased.

I walk around perpetually terrified of murderers on every corner (NOT).

Following me into restaurants, hiding in friend’s houses, at dinner parties, in hotels, even where I work.

Behind every shelf in the supermarket, at sports events, in pubs, especially in pubs.

Murderers everywhere.

But according to Dr Robert Boyle the chances of me actually being murdered are 11 in one million, so I really should just stop being such a girly wuss and get on with my life. Stop glancing over my shoulder for that shadow in the trees. Just relax and enjoy my life. Noone wants to kill me, surely? Apart from Mr Nutcase, Mrs Dairy and their friends Soya, celery and peanut who refuse to stop attacking me.

The chance of me dying from anaphylaxis is 1.81 in a million, about a third less likely than being murdered.

But you are also more likely to die from anaphylaxis than win the lottery. Another warming stastic to mull over tonight.

You can read more about what Dr Robert Boyle says here in “Food allergy death less likely than murder”.

It really is such a weight off my shoulders. Someone is more than likely going to kill me before any of allergens can get there first. I’m not sure which is the worse way to go?

This research appeared in the journal, Clinical and Experimental allergy and proves how thankfully rare death from anaphylaxis is, but how on earth does a statistic like this help anyone with allergies?

Do we survive in such numbers by the very fact that we live our lives in perpetual avoidance of allergens?

Is it the constant diligence, understanding and careful planning that keeps us and our loved ones safe?

If you have been rushed to A&E or had an anaphylactic attack after reacting from ingesting different allergens you will no doubt feel this is not a matter to make light of.

Have you ever been aware of outsmarting murderers on such a regular basis? I fear not, at least I hope not!

Reading something like this, research from a doctor which appears to imply those with allergies shouldn’t worry so much, is kind of upsetting, but we can always find a positive.

Dr Boyle also says “We don’t want to belittle the concerns of people with food allergies or their families, and of course, people should continue to take reasonable precautions. That said, we want to reassure them that having a food allergy makes a very small difference to someone’s overall risk of death.”

Allergies are serious and can be debilitating to live with; milder reactions from accidental exposure caused by cross contamination or mistakes take a toll on daily life, health, fatigue and cause depression. Allergies should not just be measured in the few deaths but also in the growing numbers who live with this challenge. It’s hard sometimes but it can be very positive, to understand fully what you eat and make sure you eat healthily. It really does make you examine your diet and read labels properly.

Take control of your allergies, learn all you can, take precautions, read labels, plan carefully when eating out and you should be able to fight off allergic reactions and murderers alike!

How does this article make you feel? Does it reassure you? or just annoy you a little bit?

Now I’m just off to double lock all the doors, secure all the bolts and set the alarms. Well you can never too careful!

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About RuthS

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.


  1. I was really upset by this journal article, as a professional, and I was quick to post a reply on the Daily Mirror website after they published on it.

    Absolutely no value in generalizing the risk across a group of people (esp of something essentially random, like being in an accident or being murdered) and applying it to individuals with lots of different allergies, or different severities, where a reaction is the outcome of not just circumstances but also personal behaviour. Are you someone who has had a previous severe, anaphylactic reaction? Were you reading labels? Did you have your Epipen with you? Did you remember how to use it?

    Off to write to the journal editors,


    • Me too, and the fact that it was research done by a doctor… why? What is the point in know this? I’ll bet there are hundreds of other statistics we could find about untimely deaths that would be less likely too but it doesn’t mean those with allergies need to take any fewer precautions to keep themselves safe, on a daily basis. Truly a useless article. Good luck with your letter. I’d love to hear what they say. And I know the whole point was to prove that thers is such a rare chance of death from allergies so that people maybe don’t worry so much, but really? We all know it’s rare. We know that because daily people don’t know what it’s all about and awareness is shocking. There are so many more useful ways to spend research money that that useless article. Did anyone find it encouraging and helpful to read?

  2. What a ridiculous statement this man has made! I have allergies but don’t get anaphylaxis and this man’s stupid statement is making me froth at the mouth with indignation. He’s talking about the risk to society. If you have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis then your personal risk is high unless you take every precaution. What an idiot! But great piece and great cartoon, Ruth X

    • Thank you Debbie. It is a crazy statement and really riled me. It’s being used in the press as a positive message to us all to stop worrying, that it’s not that common to die from anaphylaxis. Yeah we all know,that. I am so thankful that this is the case. But the main reason this figure is low is because of how carefully people live to avoid reactions. My life is very a different one to what it used to be. But that’s cool. I’m very happy indeed but it really does affect my life choices. People HAVE to remain ever vigilant and plan meals when they are out. Xmas especially could be tricky so stay safe everyone.

      What this article doesn’t address is the many, many ‘mild’ reactions. And by mild I mean doesn’t put you in A&E. These can make me I’ll for days and weeks at a time because luckily for me my allergies are dose related. But hey. Today the weather is great and I’m pretty sure I won’t get murdered today!

  3. I have trouble avoiding the things which make me ill, so I feel so sad for those of you who can suffer life-threatening reactions. Like you, my reactions can make me ill for days or weeks, but at least I never have to worry about dying from one (well, I’ve been told my shellfish allergy could progress to anaphylaxis but it hasn’t yet, thank goodness). I applaud the bravery of those of you who have this ultimate risk to consider.

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