Lions Club of Mersey-Devonport Inc

District 201T1 Tasmania Australia

Lions Allergy Awareness Programme

The Lions Allergy Awareness Programme is a school based programme to promote Allergy Awareness and to raise funds to assist in Allergy Awareness and Allergy Research.

In November 2016, the Lions Allergy Awareness Programme was adopted as a statewide Lions project for three years ending in November 2019 at the Lions District 201T1 Convention held at Latrobe.

Two generations ago, EPIPENS® were unheard of and taking peanut butter to school in lunch boxes did not provoke debate between parents.  Back then allergies were uncommon, especially food allergies.



Now around 1 in 50 children in Australia has a peanut allergy.

In 2013 a team of researchers found 1 in 10 children aged 12 months, living in Melbourne alone, had a food allergy, which was the highest incident of food allergy ever reported in the world.

In 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that almost 4 million people in Australia reported avoiding a food type because of allergy or intolerance. Of those, about 560,000 were children aged between 2 and 18 years.

With numbers on the rise every year in Australia, this is becoming an epidemic.

To have a anaphylactic reaction caused by an allergic reaction to a food or other cause can be fatal.

Deaths from anaphylaxis are relatively rare in Australia. Researchers have examined anaphylaxis fatalities and hospital admission rates between 1997 and 2013 to determine whether the rate of death from anaphlaxis in Australia has increased in line with anaphalixis admission rates.

Data derived from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed there were 323 cases of fatal anaphylaxis reported between 1997 and 2013. Food was the second highest known cause attributed to the anaphylaxis, accounting for 23 of the cases. Medication was the highest, being attributed to 52 cases. The cause of the fatal anaphylactic reaction was not specified in 220 cases, with the remaining attributed causes being classified as insect stings, tick bites or serum.

Hospital admission rates for food related anaphylaxis increased 10% per year, and similarly, food related fatal anaphylaxis increased 9.7% per year across the period studied.

Total hospital admission rates for all causes of anaphylaxis increased by 8% each year, compared to a 6.2% increase in the rate of fatal anaphylaxis across the same period.

While this preliminary evidence (presented to the 2016 AAAAI Annual Meeting) indicates a rise in Australian fatal anaphylaxis rates comparable with the increase seen in hospital admission rates, the author states that the data contrasts with recent UK and USA based studies that report lower overall fatal anaphylaxis rates. These international studies are said to show rising hospital anaphylaxis admission rates without a rise in fatalities.

The Lions Club of Mersey Devonport has run a Allergy Awareness Project for the last two years at Devonport. We have had two local primary schools hold a Allergy Awareness Day, resulting in about $2000.00 being raised and sent to Allergy Research programmes.

The Allergy Awareness Day has been run by the School Council students, involving staff members and all students at the school.

The Allergy Awareness Day gives the students the opportunity to donate a $2 coin for a Allergy Awareness Wrist Band, the students are also incouraged to wear a blue top for the day.

Staff members inform their students information about food allergies and the requirements for the safety of students with allergies.

The Education Department, in association with the Asthma Foundation guidelines, have a formulated response programme for any student with allergies.

We have found this to be a day of fun and awareness by all students and staff.

Money raised by our Lions Club on this project so far, has been forwarded to the Royal Children Hospital, Melbourne, Allergy Research Department.

The aim of the Allergy Awareness Programme is to further promote education throughout all schools in Tasmania and to assist with raising funds which will be directed to research into Allergies.