Asthma & Allergies
Decrease in hospital admissions in 90s
Trends in annual rates of primary care consultations, hospital admissions and mortality for asthma among children aged under five years
Asthma, eczema and hay fever are among the commonest chronic diseases of childhood. In 1996, 21 per cent of children aged 2 to 15 years had ever been diagnosed with asthma in England; 24 per cent with eczema; and nine per cent with hay fever.
In England and Wales, hospital admission rates for childhood asthma increased substantially during the 1960s (rates trebled among 0- to 4-year-olds from 1962 to 1969 and doubled among 5- to 14-year-olds), 1970s and early 1980s, but declined steadily during the 1990s.
In 2000, annual hospital admission rates for asthma were 48 per 10,000 children aged under 5 years and 16 per 10,000 children aged 5 to 14 years. Between 1990 and 2000, hospital admission rates had decreased by 52 per cent among children under 5 years and by 45 per cent among children aged 5 to 14 years.
The weekly incidence of acute asthma attacks diagnosed by a General Practitioner (GP), increased markedly during the 1970s and 1980s, peaked in the early 1990s, and by 2000 declined quite substantially for both age groups.
Trends in average weekly GP consultation rates for hay fever/allergic rhinitis by age, England and Wales
The proportion of children diagnosed by a GP with hay fever or allergic rhinitis tripled between the early 1970s and early 1990s. Weekly GP consultation rates (episode-based) for hay fever/allergic rhinitis declined during the early to mid-1990s then increased again, resulting in a higher consultation rate in 2000 compared with 1990.
In 2000, the weekly GP consultation rate for hay fever/allergic rhinitis was 21 per 100,000 pre-school children and 56 per 100,000 children aged 5 to 14 years.
Prevalence rates of asthma and hayfever were more common among pre-school children from manual households. Prevalence rates of eczema were slightly higher in children from non-manual households.
Hospital admission rates for urticaria, food allergy and anaphylactic shock in children under 15 years increased considerably from 1990/1991 to 2000/2001.
From 1994 to 1996, international comparisons showed that teenagers aged 12 to 14 years in Great Britain had some of the highest prevalences of symptoms and diagnoses of eczema, asthma and hay fever. Reasons for this are largely unknown.
Sources: Health Survey for England 1996, Department of Health Health Survey for England 1997, Department of Health Hospital Episode Statistics Health Solutions Wales Weekly Returns Service International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC)
Urticaria is commonly known as hives. First the skin itches, leading to pale red swellings of the skin that occur in groups on any part of the skin. Allergic reactions to certain food types such as eggs, nuts and shellfish can trigger urticaria.
Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe, potentially fatal systemic allergic reaction that can involve various areas of the body. An anaphylaxic reaction can develop from an allergic reaction to food, medication, insect stings or latex.