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April 12, 2019

Preventive measures against food allergy stressed


April 12, 2019

Islamabad : Dr Hasan Orooj, Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad Director General (Health Services), on Thursday asked the people to adopt preventive measures against allergies, including food one, for better health.

He also called for the compilation of indigenous data and community participation to check allergy related conditions.

Dr Hasan was addressing a World Allergy Day function organised by the Pakistan Allergy Asthma & Immunology Society here.

Dr Shahid Abbas, Dr. Sohail Kareem Hashmi and other staff members of the society were also present on the occasion.

Dr Hasan said food allergy was an allergic emergency that typically occurs within the first few minutes to two hours and could produce the sudden onset of itching, hives (urticaria), swelling of the face, tongue or back of the throat that may be accompanied by difficulty breathing and/or light headedness and hypotension.

"Food allergy induced reactions has doubled in the last 10 years. Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have increased five times in the last 20 years. Also, emergency in USA hospitals receive one patient suffering from anaphylactic reactions every three minute. In USA, 2000 people die of food allergy reactions or anaphylaxis," he said.

The DG said one in 10 infants had a food allergy and one in 20 children aged 10-14 years of age had a food allergy.

He said deaths from anaphylaxis in Australia had increased by seven per year (42 per cent over six years from 1997-2013).

Dr Hasan said around 4-8% children (0-5 years), and 2-4% of adults were affected by food allergy.

"There is a need for creating awareness about food allergy reactions in general public and in medical professionals and of establishing Anaphylaxis Emergency Units in the country," he said.

The DG stressed the need to collect indigenous and local data on food and other allergies.

He asked the administrations of public and private hospitals to collect analyse and show the data with Directorate of Health Services, MCI for reviewing the road map for intervention and training of medical professionals in the management of anaphylaxis.

Referring to the notion that Islamabad is the 'allergy capital' of the world, Dr Hasan said the Directorate of Health Services Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad had taken special steps.

"Firstly all the medical centres have been declared as pollen allergy centres; secondly awareness creation by the government and private sector has been equally encouraged; thirdly, youth are encouraged to join hands for helping the elders," he said.

The DG said special anti-allergy medicines were made available to the residents during the season.

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