With the 2016 Australian school year beginning this week, parents and carers of children with food and other allergic and medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes need to have plans in action, says MedicAlert Foundation CEO Heidi Jones.
“A MedicAlert medical ID can and does save lives,” says Jones. “It’s a simple and effective tool to alert and protect caregivers – it’s there with your child when you can’t be.’’
Research out last year from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute shows the number of Australian children hospitalised with potentially fatal food allergies is growing.
“It must be treated as a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention,’’ says Jones.
As part of its research, the MCRI studied hospital admissions from 2005 to 2013 and found a 50% rise in children with anaphylaxis, a generalised allergic reaction often involving more than one body system, such as the cardiovascular, skin and respiratory systems.
The MCRI says allergic reactions are most common as a result of cow’s milk, peanuts ,tree nuts, soy, seafood, sesame, fish and wheat.
Hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have doubled over the last decade in Australia.
Jones said that a MedicAlert medical ID should be high on the list of families’ plans as they prepare to get their children ready to return to school and/or childcare.
“Not only are emergency paramedics and healthcare professionals trained to look for the MedicAlert emblem, they can also call the the 24/7 support hotline for further important medical and personal details, held on its secure national database.’’