Those living with life-threatening allergies are being forced to wait up to more than a year just to receive treatment, with experts saying wait times are set to get even worse.
As the number of adults being diagnosed with anaphylaxis increases, immunologists and allergy specialists are reporting they are often unable to keep up with demand for testing and treatment.
Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia chief executive Maria Said said allergy sufferers seeking a diagnosis and specialist testing from immunologists are being put at risk due to the increased wait times.
"When you have a life-threatening reaction, it could be between 12 and 18 months before an appointment, and that's really unacceptable considering the impact that allergic diseases have on people's quality of life," Ms Said said.
"This has the potential to be a lot worse."
A study from the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy found 10 per cent of infants, up to 8 per cent of children and 2 per cent of adults reported having some form of food-related allergy.
A National Health Survey from 2015 also found 3.1 per cent of Australians reported an "undefined allergy", with other forms of anaphylaxis including exposure to mould, insect bites or latex.
Ms Said said increased wait times were being seen across Australia, with even longer wait times out of the major capital cities.
A spokeswoman for Canberra Health Services said data on average wait times to see ACT-based immunologists was not collected.
"Immunologists also deal with patients with other conditions, including serious autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and immune deficiencies," the spokeswoman said.
"As a result, there is considerable demand for appointments. There are six immunologists employed by Canberra Health Services, all with part-time appointments."
Canberra immunologist Dr Raymond Mullins said while wait times vary from state to state, public hospital outpatient waiting lists are normally more than 12 months.
"Food allergies and anaphylaxis have moved from a marginal phenomena to an ongoing public health issue for an increasing proportion of the population and their caregivers," Dr Mullins said.
"This has implications in terms of cost of care, the need for medical visits and review, the use and availability of emergency medication such as EpiPens."
While data from the ACT is not available, figures from Victoria showed a median waiting time of more than 100 days to access immunologists for allergy testing.
Dr Mullins said more people were in need of seeing immunologists as children who developed allergies got older.
"Young children who have nut allergies will generally still have persistent food allergy 80 per cent time," he said.
"That means we have an ageing population of teenagers and young adults with persistent food allergy at greater risk of having more serious reactions including fatalities."
Ms Said said as more adults were experiencing severe allergies, many immunology clinics have been unable to keep up with demand, with many clinics only specialising in paediatrics.
"There's only a handful of public clinics, and most are specifically for children, yet there's a growing number of adults with allergic diseases," she said.
"It's very concerning because allergic diseases can't be cured and it has to be managed, and people need to be educated on how it can be managed."
The access to treatment for those with anaphylaxis forms part of a federal government inquiry into severe allergies.
In its submission to the inquiry, the federal Health Department said Australia had one of the highest rates of allergies and anaphylaxis in the world.
"Available evidence from hospital admissions for anaphylaxis indicates the prevalence has increased in many western countries, including Australia," the department said.
"Total hospital admissions rates for all causes of anaphylaxis increased by 8 per cent each year between 1997 and 2013."
The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has told the inquiry the current access process for immunology testing was time-consuming and complicated, calling for access to be simplified.
Ms Said said more public clinics were needed in order to reduce wait times for those with anaphylaxis.
"We need them especially in rural and remote areas to allow for greater access to an accurate diagnosis and accurate information on allergy management," she said.