Doctors who treat patients with allergies and asthma in Ireland say they can expect a higher number of new cases and higher costs as a result of the current political climate.
A new report commissioned by the Government to investigate the issue said it would cost taxpayers €20m to treat all patients who were exposed to anaphysias during a six-month period in 2013-14.
The report said there were currently 7,600 cases in Ireland, which is a four-fold increase on the previous year.
It said there was a “high risk of a new pandemic occurring in Ireland” with an increased number of infections in the coming years.
A total of 1,939 patients received treatment during the six-week period, a significant increase from the 1,500 reported the previous report.
The National Health Service (NHS) has recorded 6.3 million infections in Ireland this year, which are a fourfold increase from 2015-16.
The new report also found there were almost 300,000 patients who had allergic reactions to medication, a number which has increased by 15 per cent since last year.
There was a 50 per cent increase in the number of patients diagnosed with asthma, up from 40 per cent in 2015-17.
It was also found that an increase in allergic reactions was occurring in people with asthma.
There were 2,715 new cases of anaphyaxis during the study period, which was an increase of 12 per cent on the year before.
The Government said it will conduct an independent review of the issue and work with the community to address the concerns raised.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) said the report would inform ongoing work to tackle the issue.
In a statement, it said there are currently 8,500 new cases reported to the department every day, with more than 60,000 reported cases each week.
There are now 5,200 more cases each day, it added.
Dr Helen Macdonald, the head of allergy and immunology at Mayo Clinic in Dublin, said it was clear the problem needed to be tackled.
“It’s a real concern for people with allergies, and we’ve had a number of people who have had anaphaphylactic reactions, who have died,” she said.
“The risk is that this pandemic is going to have an impact on people who live in urban areas and rural areas and we need to be prepared.”
Dr Macdonald said people with chronic asthma or allergies could be exposed to more medication and potentially be more susceptible to an allergy attack.
“I don’t think we can ever be sure.
There are things that you can try to control the risk of an attack, but the more you do the less likely you are to see a real change,” she added.”
This is the best time to take action.
If you don’t take action it’s going to be very difficult to get to the end of the pandemic.”