Aus­tralians al­ler­gic to the food facts

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - BEN PIKE

KNOW­ING how to save some­one from ana­phy­laxis needs to be as com­mon as know­ing CPR if Aus­tralia is to ar­rest the spi­ralling rates of food al­lergy deaths.

A new sur­vey has re­vealed wide­spread ig­no­rance of food al­ler­gies and how to deal with a se­vere re­ac­tion.

It found 85 per cent of Aus­tralians would not recog­nise if some­one was hav­ing a po­ten­tially fatal food al­lergy at­tack and most (69 per cent) would be use­less to help.

More than half of those sur­veyed also agreed that peo­ple with a food al­lergy were “over cau­tious”.

“The re­search re­veals an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous com­bi­na­tion of lack of aware­ness and com­pla­cency,” Al­lergy and Ana­phy­laxis Aus­tralia CEO Maria Said said.

“Aus­tralians need to recog­nise peo­ple with food al­ler­gies are not mak­ing a ‘fuss’ and that this is a med­i­cal is­sue we need to all take se­ri­ously. I think there is a lot of stigma. Peo­ple need to not roll their eyes at the prob­lem.”

More than 650,000 Aus­tralians have a di­ag­nosed food al­lergy and an es­ti­mated 23 peo­ple die ev­ery year from food ana­phy­laxis. There are 30,000 new cases ev­ery year.

With to­day mark­ing the begin­ning of Food Al­lergy Week (14-20 May), Ms Said has called for more re­search into the es­ca­lat­ing prob­lem.

“We need to get to the bot­tom of this is­sue so fu­ture gen­er­a­tions can re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing an al­lergy,” she said. The Gal­axy re­search sur­veyed 1000 Aus­tralians.

Raw peanuts.

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