HomeLatest news from Food Allergy Canada – April 2021

Latest news from Food Allergy Canada – April 2021

April 8, 2021

Sign up for our upcoming webinars, we have three new sessions with leading allergists. Last chance to tell us what you think about our newsletter and be entered to win a special Food Allergy Canada prize pack, including our exclusive Shine A Teal Light glow-in-the-dark bracelets. Register your 7-15-year-old for the spring session of the Allergy Pals/Allies free online peer mentorship program. Read how watching our COVID-19 vaccines and food allergy webinar helped to build confidence. Learn about our Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award and apply before the deadline this month. Plus, check out our reminders for a safe spring break during the pandemic.


Register for our upcoming webinars!

Sign up for our upcoming webinars taking place in April and May. Check out the informative and timely sessions below and register now! Please be sure to share with others who may benefit from learning more about these topics.

April 29th: Understanding oral allergy syndrome / pollen food syndrome with Dr. Anne Ellis 

Do you or does your child have seasonal allergies to tree, grass, or ragweed pollen, and also experience itching inside the mouth or throat when eating fresh fruits or vegetables or tree nuts? If so, oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also known as pollen food syndrome (PFS), may be the cause.

What is OAS and how can it be managed? Join us for an educational webinar on OAS, you’ll gain a better understanding of this medical condition and how it can be managed.

Here are the details:

  • What the webinar is about: The basics of OAS, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, reactions and their severity, and how to manage it. This will be followed by a Q&A, where you can ask your questions. Plus, you can submit your questions in advance upon registration.
  • Who is presenting: Dr. Anne Ellis, Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Division of Allergy & Immunology at Queen’s University, and the James H. Day Chair in Allergic Diseases and Allergy Research. She is the Director of the Environmental Exposure Unit and the Allergy Research Unit at Kingston General Hospital, the Vice President of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and also serves on the Joint Task for Practice Parameters which represents the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology as well as the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
  • When is the webinar: Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 12pm – 1pm EDT.

May 4th: Preventing anaphylaxis in those with food allergy: is it possible?

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that has the potential to be life-threatening. If we look at the science, are there possibilities for altering the anaphylactic process and blocking it from happening in individuals with food allergy? 

Join us to hear from the lead investigator about new research on preventing anaphylaxis and what this can mean for food allergy therapies of the future.  

Here are the details:

  • What the webinar is about: The science behind the allergic response, research developments on preventing anaphylaxis, and implications for the treatment of food allergy. This will be followed by a Q&A, where you can ask your questions. Plus, you can submit your questions in advance upon registration. 
  • Who is presenting: Dr. Manel Jordana, MD, PhD and Professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. Dr. Jordana is the lead investigator for the new research being shared, which is also featured as an “Editors’ Choice” in the April issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
  • When is the webinar: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 from 12pm–1pm EDT.

May 19th: Epinephrine first and the role of Benadryl® in anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that has the potential to be life-threatening, but there is emergency treatment. Join us to learn why epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, and what role, if any, antihistamines have during a reaction. Plus, build your confidence in learning how to recognize anaphylaxis and what to do in case you or someone you know experiences it. 

Here are the details:

  • What the webinar is about: The importance of using epinephrine for treatment of anaphylaxis and when antihistamines might be given, along with a review of the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and the possibility of biphasic or secondary reactions. There will also be a discussion on the common concerns in using epinephrine and what can be done to overcome them. This will be followed by a Q&A, where you can ask your questions. Plus, you can submit your questions in advance upon registration. 
  • Who is presenting: Dr. Wade Watson, Professor of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Head of the Division of Allergy, IWK Health Centre, and Chair of the Specialty Committee, Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Watson is also a member of our Healthcare Advisory Board.
  • When is the webinar: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 12pm–1pm EDT.

Last chance: Help us improve our monthly newsletter and be entered into a draw to win a prize!

Food Allergy Canada prize pack
Food Allergy Canada prize pack

Thanks to those of you who have completed our short survey to let us know your thoughts on our monthly newsletter. If you haven’t done so, please take a moment to take the 5-minute survey now. Your feedback will help us learn what is important to you and how we can better serve you!

Take the survey and win a special Food Allergy Canada prize pack

As a special thank you, everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a draw to win one special prize pack. The prize will include the following (one of each):

  • #ShineATealLight glow-in-the-dark bracelet
  • Think FAST poster
  • Ultimate Guidebook for Teens with Food Allergies
  • Food allergy hero button
  • Food Allergy Canada sunglasses
  • Food Allergy Canada phone holder

The winner will be randomly selected and announced in May, which is Food Allergy Awareness Month.


Last call to register for Allergy Pals/Allies Spring session: Register by April 23rd

Registration is closing soon for the next session of Allergy Pals/Allies online peer mentorship program. This free 8-week program is open to youth ages 7-15 with food allergy and will be taking place from April 24 to June 12, 2021.

By participating in the program, kids will:

  • Build a support network by connecting with other children who have food allergy
  • Learn strategies for managing their food allergy
  • Feel more confident managing their food allergy

Watch the video below for an overview of the program and its many benefits! Plus, read below to see how the program has impacted Nathan’s life. Make sure to register your child before April 23rd, so they don’t miss out.

Allergy Pals Quote by Nathan

2021 Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award: Deadline for submissions April 23

Sabrina Shannon, young Ontario girl who passed away in 2003 due to an anaphylactic reaction
Sabrina Shannon

We are still accepting submissions for the Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award. If you are a student entering your first year or continuing your studies at a post-secondary institution, learn more about the award below and submit your application by April 23, 2021.

About the award

This award recognizes two post-secondary students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to raising awareness and educating others on food allergy. There are two awards, each valued at $1,000 each. Applicants do not need to have food allergies to be eligible for the award. Learn about last year’s winners, Akash Kothari and Aliya Guttman.

Apply today and please share with others who may qualify. The winners will be announced next month during Food Allergy Awareness Month!


How a webinar helped prepare me for the COVID-19 vaccine: An interview with Celia D.

Celia D.
Celia D.

“Having a sesame allergy, I was somewhat nervous about getting vaccinated, but because I had watched the Food Allergy Canada webinar (on COVID-19 vaccines and food allergy), I was up for it.”

– Celia D.

This past February we hosted a webinar with a panel of experts to address questions and concerns around the COVID-19 vaccines and the impacts to those with food allergy. We recently spoke to Celia D. about how she felt better prepared for the vaccine after watching our webinar. Check out the interview below.

With respect to food allergy, did you have any concerns about getting vaccinated?

I’ve been managing a sesame allergy for nearly 70 years, it has been a very significant thing in my life, and I’ve experienced anaphylactic reactions. I’d heard last December’s news about the people with a history of severe allergic reactions who reacted to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This worried me and made me anxious about having a reaction, given my history.  

What did you do to better understand the information around COVID-19 vaccines?

When I heard that Food Allergy Canada had scheduled a webinar on the topic, I made sure that I attended.

How did our webinar help you?

I appreciated hearing from all three individuals on the panel – the Health Canada representative, the infectious disease specialist, and the allergist. I learned more about the safety of the vaccines for people with food allergy. It really helped to hear what was in the vaccines and that there was nothing unusual about the ingredients; these explanations allayed my concerns. I had a lot of unanswered questions that were addressed by the webinar.

We understand you recently received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, how did it go?  

At the vaccination clinic, it took only seconds to get the shot and they had me wait 30 minutes afterwards, rather than 15 minutes. I had no side effects other than a sore arm, which many people get.   

Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share?

I’ve attended other Food Allergy Canada webinars, and I found this one to be particularly helpful. It had great information that’s worth repeating to others, even those who do not have food allergy. For example, I talked to some friends about how the vaccine ingredients were clearly explained in the webinar. Nobody I knew had understood what was in the vaccines.

Thank you Celia for sharing your experiences with us and how our webinar helped to inform you and address your concerns! 

We love hearing from the community. If you would like to share your experiences about how our webinars or other resources helped you, please reach out at info@foodallergycanada.ca!

A group of people wearing masks.COVID-19 and food allergy

Find more information on managing food allergy during the pandemic.


Reminders for a safe spring break! 

Spring break

For those of you whose  children are on spring break or will be soon, check out our reminders for staying safe with food allergy. Even though this year’s spring break activities will be different due to the pandemic, there are still many ways to have fun and connect with others! Plan ahead with our helpful resources and tips below.


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