NHS hospitals in England dealt with 20,320 admissions for allergies in the 12 months to February, according to a report.

The statistics, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), show a 7.7% increase from 18,860 for the previous 12 months.

The rate of admissions for allergies for both sexes is highest in those aged 0-4 and it is higher in males than in females in this age group.

The rate for both genders generally decreases with age with a higher rate of admissions in females than in males in older age bands.

In addition, the report shows that 61.8% (12,560) of admissions due to allergic reactions were emergencies, a 6.2% increase (730) on the same period the previous year (11,830).

Nearly one in five (4,070) of admissions were for anaphylactic reactions, an increase of 9.9% (370).

The Birmingham and the Black Country Area Team had the highest rate of admissions for anaphylactic reactions at 11.2 per 100,000 of the population. Meanwhile, the Merseyside Area Team was found to have the lowest at 5.1 per 100,000 of the population.

In the 12 months to February 2014:

  • Admissions for allergic rhinitis increased by 10.9% in males and 13.3 per cent in females from the previous 12 month period.
  • 93.7% of these allergic rhinitis admissions were elective: of these 
    • 62.9 per cent underwent subcutaneous immunotherapy treatment.
    • Hospital admissions for food allergies increased by 6.4 per cent.

HSCIC also publishes prescribing information, which sheds further insight on the treatment of allergies.

Prescribing information for the 12 months to February 2014 shows that the rate of prescribing emergency adrenaline products was 353 per 100,000 head of the population, one item per 283 people.

These products can be used for the immediate treatment of a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis.

The highest rate of dispensed emergency adrenaline products in England was in the Surrey and Sussex Area Team at 542.4 items per 100,000, of the population. Greater Manchester had Area Team has the lowest rate with only 183.8 items per 100,000.”

Chair of the HSCIC, Kingsley Manning said: “The statistics provide fresh insight into hospital admissions for allergies, which have increased by almost eight per cent in the last year.

“In the 12 months to February, 61.8% of all allergy related hospital admissions were emergencies, a rise of just over six per cent.

“This vital information on allergy admissions in England paints a clear picture for policy makers of the scale of hospital in patient care for these conditions.”