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Latest news from Food Allergy Canada – November 2018

Discover what the experts in food allergy are saying from their perspective on auto-injector needle length, to the validity of blood tests for food sensitivities on the Canadian market.

Learn more about the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Meeting (FAAM) in Copenhagen that our Executive Director attended.

Register now for our “Ask the allergist” webinar where Canadian allergist Dr. Julia Upton will answer your top questions on food allergy and anaphylaxis.

Thank you for supporting the “Shine a light” Halloween campaign! Read about the support we received and check out the amazing new song written by food allergy musician, Kyle Dine, exclusively for this campaign.


Epinephrine auto-injector needle length and dosing: Experts weigh in

Allergic Living recently published an article featuring the viewpoints from board-certified allergists regarding needle length and dosage in EpiPens and other epinephrine auto-injectors. This discussion came about after an inquest into a tragic death due to anaphylaxis in the U.K.

The allergists noted that in North America, EpiPens and other epinephrine auto-injectors are “considered safe and effective treatment for anaphylaxis in the vast majority of allergic patients” and that “they provide appropriate and potentially lifesaving treatment for many thousands of patients with allergies each year.”

Read the article at Allergic Living.


CBC News article: ‘There is no validity’: Unproven blood tests for food sensitivity widely offered in Canada

Photo credit: CBC News

CBC News has published an article featuring how IgG food tests are marketed in labs as a way to test for food sensitivities. The article notes that medical experts, including the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI), call IgG tests for food sensitivities “unvalidated,” and more than two dozen organizations warn about the misuse of such tests.

The reports being generated by the IgG tests are being grossly misinterpreted, critics say. The article also notes that more than 25 leading health organizations from around the world have warned about the misinterpretation of IgG tests, including a Health Canada scientist who wrote “these tests are not reliable and should not be recommended as a single diagnosis tool.”

We agree with the CSACI and the other medical experts regarding the use of these tests. Patients diagnosed with anaphylaxis must learn strategies to remain safe, such as avoiding their allergen and carrying epinephrine. Tests that falsely rule out an allergy could therefore have tragic consequences. Meanwhile, patients who are wrongly informed that they have a food allergy may unnecessarily eliminate certain foods which can restrict diet and impact their health and quality of life. They will also incur unnecessary costs for medication and tests.

If you think you or your child has a food allergy, it is important to see a doctor. Your doctor can refer you to an allergist who can confirm an allergy.

Read the full article. Plus, learn more about food allergy diagnosis from our “Diagnosis” webpage. 


Learning from global experts: Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Meeting (FAAM) in Copenhagen

Jennifer Gerdts (left) at the international meeting in Copengahen. [Photo credits: Yanne Boloh and Eileen Lam]
Last month, our Executive Director, Jennifer Gerdts, represented Canada at the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Meeting in Copenhagen. The meeting was hosted by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and featured renowned allergists, researchers, and other healthcare professionals, who shared their knowledge and expertise in the area of food allergy and anaphylaxis.

Among the many topics presented, there was discussion around immunotherapy for food allergy, such as oral immunotherapy (OIT), workshops on the management of anaphylaxis, risk factors in anaphylaxis, food technology and allergen risk management.

The meeting provided amazing opportunities to collaborate and learn from our international partners!


New upcoming webinar: Ask the allergist featuring Dr. Julia Upton

Dr. Julia Upton

Check out our Get Involved section for details on our upcoming December webinar with Dr. Julia Upton.

Dr. Upton will lead an “Ask the allergist” session where she answers your top questions on food allergy and anaphylaxis.

Learn more and register.


Thank you for shining a light on food allergies for Halloween

In October, we launched our new “Shine a light” campaign, focused on different ways to shine a teal light to drive food allergy awareness and education.

Many of you joined us in our Shine a light movement in various ways, including:

  • Shining a teal light on your front porch to indicate that you have non-food treats or allergy-friendly treats available for kids with food allergies at Halloween
  • Getting our teal glow-in-the-dark bracelets – we sold out! By sporting these bracelets, you helped to drive food allergy awareness. Many of you also handed them out at Halloween and gave them to kids in your child’s classrooms. These bracelets spark discussion and show community support!
  • Donating to our bright idea on our GoFundMe page to help us get awareness and education bulb packages created for Halloweens to come
  • Sharing our #ShineATeal light posters and social icons
  • Attending teal monument lightings across the country and sharing photos with us using #ShineATealLight

Check out a story on food allergy hero, Jennifer Pattison-Speed, a mom who is known for her allergy-friendly Halloween treats, despite not having children with allergies. Her story illustrates the impact that food allergy awareness can have in the broader community.

A big thank you to the generosity of MediaCity, Captivate Network, Adapt Media, and PUBLIC Inc., for donating their services. Because of them, we were able spread national awareness through a campaign that was viewed by millions of Canadians. This was our biggest outreach effort for Halloween yet, the campaign sparked a lot of discussion around food allergies and how to support kids who have them.

A special thank you to Kyle Dine, a talented food allergy musician and educator, who created a special Shine a light song helping us reach even more people. Listen to “Shine a light” now!

Although the Halloween season is now officially over, keep shining a teal light and spreading the word about food allergies all year long!

The community shines a teal light!

Thank you for sharing your pictures with us!