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Food allergy deaths much rarer than death by accident

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: December 12, 2013 - 7:04 PM

Food allergy is a common cause of anaphylaxis, but how often people die of food anaphylaxis is not known. A new study tried to estimate the risks and found that accidents are much more often deadly than food allergy deaths.

Food allergy affects up to 10 percent of young children and 2 to 3 percent of adults. Fatal food anaphylaxis is rare but gets wide media attention. The review of cases from Clinical & Experimental Allergy summarized, "Given the importance of anxiety as a contributor to the quality of life impact of food allergy, our finding that fatal food anaphylaxis incidence is relatively low may be important information for food-allergic people and their carers. Some people with food allergy and their families have restricted lives because of fear of anaphylaxis and fatal outcomes, which they may estimate to be more likely to occur than reality."  

The study found these incidence rates:

Death rate per year from anaphylaxis in people with food allergies:

  • 1.81 per million    
  • 3.25 per million in those younger than 19
  • 4.25 per million in those with peanut allergies

Accidental death rates, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 399 per million per year for all deaths by accident
  • 109 per million for car accident
  • 107 per million for unintentional poisoning
  • 84 per million for unintentional falls
  • 53 per million for murder
  • 36 per million for being fatally shot


 

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