Note: Where is the journalism 101 question. WHY? The MD/author is a pediatrician who also writes fiction, non-fiction and the mishegoss known as American Pediatrics circa 2018 where children are sicker than ever, longer than ever and yet no one seems to care.
Anaphylaxis is the scary end of allergy, the kind of reaction that can kill. It can happen almost immediately after the exposure — being stung by the bee, eating the peanut — and it can move fast. In anaphylaxis, your immune system turns against you with a vengeance, revs up and releases histamines and other chemicals that set off a range of dangerous physiological changes.
Your airways squeeze tighter, so it’s harder to breathe — especially dangerous in children, who start with smaller airways. Your lips and tongue and throat can swell. Your blood pressure can drop until you’re in shock. You can also get hives, you can develop nausea and vomiting, all possible clues to the advent of anaphylaxis.
A new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield looked at allergy diagnoses and at emergency room visits for anaphylaxis from 2010 to 2016 among their subscribers, who include 9.6 million children 18 and under all over the country. The report showed an increase in the incidence of children being diagnosed as “at risk” for anaphylaxis over the course of those seven years. And correspondingly, the rate of emergency room visits for anaphylaxis more than doubled, to 3.5 visits per 10,000 children in 2016 from 1.4 in 2010.
Of those emergency room visits, 47 percent were attributed to specific food allergies, largely peanuts and tree nuts and seeds. The other 53 percent were attributed either to unknown foods or “to other unspecified causes.” (Because the study was done by examining insurance claims, the information is conveyed by billing codes; some codes specify “anaphylactic reaction due to shellfish,” for example, but others just say, “anaphylactic shock, unspecified.”) Read more here.