This is fascinating. It seems for years we’ve been overstating the incidence of death from food allergy at 150-200 per year. But Meredith Broussard at The Huffington Post showcases evidence that the number may reach no higher than 11 deaths per year. This is according to the most recently available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. Apparently the 150-200 deaths per year stat is derived from a 1999 study of an isolated county in Minnesota. The figure has been taken as gospel and has been cited as recently as this month in the New York Times and the British Medical Journal.
While I’m always one to advocate for children who do suffer with serious anaphylactic reactions, I’ve had some reservation about the degree of allergic hysteria that rears its head in public places. This statistic doesn’t change the fact that such children need to be taken seriously, but it might be a key first step towards easing the social tension of the allergic child.