Cases of Canberrans being treated in emergency rooms for severe anaphylactic reactions has more than doubled in just three years.
In the 2018-19 financial year, there were 237 presentations to ACT public hospitals for anaphylaxis, according to new health figures
While the last financial year's figures recorded only a slight increase from the previous 12 months, up from 217, the number is more than double that of the 115 cases seen in 2015-16.
Of the cases seen at Canberra's hospitals last year, 95 of them were children.
An ACT Health spokeswoman said there had been a large increase in the number of anaphylaxis cases in recent years.
"Presentations to ACT public hospital emergency departments have trended up over the past five years," the spokeswoman said.
"The most common anaphylactic diagnosis made at the Canberra Hospital emergency department was anaphylactic shock due to adverse food reaction."
The spike in severe allergic reactions isn't just limited to Canberra hospitals, with the number of food-induced anaphylaxis cases doubling nationally in the past 10 years, according to Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia.
The organisation's chief executive, Maria Said, said the increase in hospitalisations was due to a spike in allergy diagnoses.
"The prevalence of food allergies has increased in recent years," Ms Said said.
"That's more people who have the potential to have life-threatening reactions to a small amount of food, and we expect there are going to be more hospitalisations, even though there are more strategies to reduce risk."
The number of deaths due to anaphylaxis has increased by 7 per cent each year for the past seven years, according to the organisation.
While food-based allergies make up a majority of cases, other allergic triggers are common, including mould, insect bites or latex.
Ms Said said a growing number of children were developing allergies.
"Around 6 per cent of children at the age of five have a food allergy," she said.
Among them is five-year-old Edward Ovin, who first developed an allergy to tree nuts when he was 15-months-old.
His mother Georgina said he first started showing allergic symptoms after eating a pesto with nuts in it.
"His eyes and lips swelled up and then he went pale and floppy and was struggling to breathe," Ms Ovin said.
"There was only a tablespoon of cashews in there. It was very worrying."
Edward now carries an EpiPen with him when he's at school, and his mother said he's been taught how to avoid nuts and check what's in his food. She said with more people now being diagnosed with severe allergies that could trigger reactions, people are better at recognising anaphylaxis.
"He carries a kit with him and he's learning how to read all of the labels," she said. "A lot more people are now better educated to recognise symptoms of anaphylaxis."
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