Title

Fatal Food Anaphylaxis: Distinguishing Fact From Fiction

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2022

Journal

The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice

Volume

10

Issue

1

DOI

10.1016/j.jaip.2021.10.008

Keywords

Anaphylaxis; Fatalities; Risk factors; Serum tryptase

Abstract

Although there is a general perception that the prevalence of food allergy is increasing, data supporting this are limited. Food is the least common cause of fatal anaphylaxis, and fortunately, it is a very rare event; however, it is also unpredictable. There is widespread consensus that severe reactions cannot be predicted in a clinically meaningful way. Certain food triggers are more frequently associated with fatal anaphylaxis than others. In observational studies, peanut and tree nuts account for at least 30% to 50% of fatalities, with seafood and cow's milk also associated with fatal reactions. Fatal food-induced anaphylaxis is most likely to occur during adolescence and young adulthood, although the reasons for this are unclear. International guidelines agree that intramuscular (IM) epinephrine is the treatment of choice for managing food-triggered anaphylaxis and has a good safety profile when given by the IM route. However, fatalities still occur despite the timely administration of epinephrine. Food-allergic individuals must navigate a world that requires daily vigilance for allergens and preparedness for allergic reactions. Although the actual risk of fatal reactions is minimal, it is not zero, and severe reactions are unpredictable. Clinicians need to help patients better understand the very low but real risk of fatal reaction and enable them to lead as normal a life as possible through appropriate education, safety netting, and risk reduction.

Department

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Share

COinS