The prevalence of food allergies—greater among children than adults—has been recognized as a major pediatric health problem in Western countries, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA).

In Europe, the number of children’s trips to the hospital due severe allergic reactions has increased seven-fold in the past 10 years. One out of every 20 children in Europe has at least one food allergy.

“Food allergy is not a trivial disease. No cure has been found yet, and the disease is so unpredictable that it often causes anxiety in patients and caregivers, leading to social exclusion because of the fear of eating dangerous foods by mistake. Only clear information on ingredients and disease management can help food allergy patients,” says Breda Flood, EFA president. 

EAACI is advocating more awareness and education to improve the management of food allergies and anaphylaxis. To do this, the organization has started the “Beware of Allergy” campaign that highlights the increasing incidence and burden of food allergies and severe allergic reactions. The campaign further calls on patients, healthcare professionals and pharmacists to familiarize themselves with how to recognize and manage these diseases from early detection.

 “By focusing on education for food allergy prevention, early diagnosis and correct management, EAACI hopes to help patients and their families better control their food allergy and improve their quality of life and to increase the resources allocated by the society to manage the allergy epidemic,” says Antonella Muraro, EAACI secretary general and president elect.