Hospital admissions for allergy and anaphylaxis begin to increase following COVID-19 pandemic
New figures published on 22nd September 2022 by NHS Digital show an increase in hospital admissions for allergy and anaphylaxis for March 2021 to March 2022.
Every September, NHS digital releases data about patient admissions to NHS hospitals across the UK for the previous year. Anaphylaxis UK, a UK-wide charity that provides support and information to people with serious allergies, analyses the figures for allergy and anaphylaxis admissions to monitor the trends.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, admissions for allergy and anaphylaxis had steadily increased year on year from 2013 onwards.
In contrast, in 2021 the NHS reported – Last year’s figures showed a dramatic decline.
. This was thought to be for a number of possible pandemic related reasons including:
- Reluctance to seek medical help due to fear of the virus/stay at home advice
- Reduction in travel leading to reduced air pollution
- Stay at home advice leading to reduced transmission of viruses/exposure to allergens
- Social distancing, hand washing and use of face masks reducing transmission of viruses/exposure to allergens
For children aged 18 and under there has been a 16.8% increase in allergy and anaphylaxis admissions on 2020-2021 but this is still below the level in the years immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic.
For adults aged 19 and over, there has been a 15.6% increase in allergy and anaphylaxis admissions on 2020-2021 but this is also below the level in the years immediately before the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have remained largely stable compared to 2020-21 for all age groups.
Tables created by Anaphylaxis UK using figures from NHS Digital.
Simon Williams, CEO of Anaphylaxis UK said:
“It is worrying for us to see that the number of admissions to hospital for allergy and anaphylaxis has once again begun to rise following the COVID-19 pandemic decrease. These figures show the importance of continuing to raise awareness of serious allergies and the need for more research to help us understand why the prevalence of allergy continues to increase. Our ongoing aim is to create a safe environment for all people with allergies by working with and educating those in schools, universities, the food industry, healthcare professionals and other key audiences.”
Doctor Helen Evans-Howells, GP and trustee of Anaphylaxis UK, said:
“I am not surprised to see a rise in hospital admissions for anaphylaxis as allergies did not ‘go away’ during the pandemic. I am aware from our patients that people are still reluctant to attend hospital settings. Some believe they can manage anaphylaxis themselves at home. I would implore anyone who has an anaphylactic reaction to seek urgent medical attention. Do not be afraid to contact your GP or emergency department if you need advice or believe you or your child has an allergy. If an allergy is diagnosed, we can help you manage this and look at the best treatment options available. Anaphylaxis UK also have a wealth of online resources to help you and your friends and family understand allergies.”
The charity has a number of resources available to help enable those at risk to manage their allergies. These include;
• Online e-learning courses at allergywise.org.uk for adults, schools, parents and carers and healthcare professionals.
• Factsheets with information about allergies which is evidence based and checked by clinical experts.
• Information on Living with serious allergies.
This week the charity is also hosting its annual Anaphylaxis Awareness Week (1-7 October) with the theme #WearItBright representing its aim to create a brighter future for adults and children at risk of anaphylaxis. They will be hosting interviews with allergy experts and providing free resources to businesses, schools, and healthcare professionals throughout the week.
If you would like further information and support, please call Anaphylaxis UK’s national helpline on 01252 542029 or contact here.
Anaphylaxis UK, formerly Anaphylaxis Campaign, is the only UK charity solely supporting people living with serious allergies, offering information and advice for individuals and their families, for businesses and for schools and other places of education. We provide resources for people with serious allergies that can be trusted and are both scientifically based and factually accurate.
Anaphylaxis is a serious and often sudden allergic reaction. It can occur when someone with allergies is exposed to something they are allergic to. Reactions usually take place within minutes and rapidly progress but can occur up to 2-3 hours later. It is potentially life-threatening and always requires an immediate emergency response.