Safety alert over response to children's food allergies

Minimum safety standards should be brought in to Britain's schools to cope with the rising number of children with food allergies, doctors have warned.

About 50,000 people in England suffer an anaphylactic shock in their lifetime and a third of those in children occur for the first time at school, but teachers are unprepared, they say.

The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) has launched a Food Allergies campaign to raise awareness of the threat posed by anaphylaxis in children and ensure schools are ready to deal with life threatening events.

The most common allergies in children are to eggs, cow's milk and nuts. In the UK, anaphylaxis causes about 20 deaths a year in adults and children from heart attacks or suffocation due to swelling of the mouth or throat.

Hospital admissions for the condition increased from about 300 in 1990 to more than 3,500 in 2009, a more than 10-fold increase.

Food allergies affect 17 million people in Europe, with 3.5 million aged under 25. Among children, one of the fastest growing allergies is to nuts. Some studies suggest allergies to peanuts have more than doubled in a decade, affecting more than one in 100 children. Allergy to nuts causes half of all life threatening allergic reactions in the UK.

The EAACI is to publish International Minimum Standards for the Child at School to ensure the same procedures are laid down everywhere and teachers who switch schools do not become confused. The focus will be on primary schools – by secondary level affected children have learnt how to recognise symptoms of an attack and carry their own medicines.

Lindsey McManus, deputy chief executive of Allergy UK, said: "The present arrangement is that schools in the UK work out a protocol with parents of individual children with allergies so teachers know who they are ... the problem is different schools have different protocols and different ways of going about things. Some may have a list of children with their photos in the staff room. There is no standardised way of educating staff."

The campaign will also seek to standardise food labelling which leads to confusion and increases risk for allergy sufferers, the EAACI says. Labels such as "May contain nuts" are not regulated and different food manufacturers employ different criteria when using them. By representing different levels of contamination they imply different levels of risk.

Allergy to nuts causes half of all life threatening allergic reactions in the UK

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

    £12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders