One of our goals is to provide accurate, practical articles on dealing with allergies and asthma.
Check our Resources page and the AAIA Resources page (AAIA website) for resources such as brochures, books, videos, buttons, speaker materials.
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Endorsements: Articles written and/or endorsed by the Allergy/Asthma Information Association (AAIA) are noted as such. Otherwise, the articles do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Calgary Allergy Network or the AAIA.
Copyright: All articles are available for use for educational, non-profit purposes to the best of our knowledge. Specific copyright restrictions of articles on this site, if we are aware of any, are noted. Please respect the authors and do not change the wording.
WARNING: The following articles are for your information only. For specific questions and concerns, consult your family physician or allergist.
- Association d'information sur l'allergie et l'asthme
- Sécurité Allergie
- Association des Allergologues et Immunologues du Québec
- L'association québécoise Des allergies alimentaires (AQAA)
- Principes directeurs du consensus Canadien - l'Asthme
- Déjouer les allergies alimentaires - Recettes et trouvailles
AAIA has excellent full-colour brochures on anaphylaxis, peanut/nut allergy, egg allergy, dairy allergy and dust/mold/pet allergies in English and French on their web site.
Anaphylaxis Brochure (AAIA)
Briefly explains what anaphylaxis is (potentially life-threatening allergic reaction) and how to treat it.
Anaphylaxis: The Fatal Allergic Reaction (AAIA)
Be a Survivor! Find out more about the 3 A's : Awareness, Avoidance, Action.
About the Anakit
The Anakit (syringe with epinephrine) has been discontinued in Canada. The closest equivalent is the Twinject auto injector, which combines an auto injector for the first dose and a syringe for the second dose.
About the EpiPen®
The official EpiPen® web sites (marketer/distributor of the EpiPen®) are epipen.ca (Canadian) or view epipen.com. Canadians and Americans can sign up for an expiry date reminder program. Epipen® trainers (no medication or needle) are available in Canada from AAIA.
EpiPens - Common Mistakes in Using One (off-site)
This link goes to a web page in Australia created by an allergist. It shows pictures of common errors people make in using an auto-injector. Get a trainer and practice! practice! practice! If you ever need to use it, you'll feel much more comfortable and you'll do it right.
Origin of the EpiPen®
Here's a short paragraph about how the EpiPen® was developed sent to me by Shel Kaplan, listed as the primary inventor. This story has not been independently verified.
Living with Anaphylaxis: Handling the Stress (AAIA)
Vivre avec l'anaphylaxie: gérer le stress
Offers a very practical approach and many tips to living a full and productive life with serious allergies without driving yourself and everyone else crazy!
Reducing Parental Stress (AAIA)
This is a practical article about learning to keep your sanity and perspective when you send your allergic child to school.
Oral Food Allergy Syndrome (AAIA)
This syndrome is an allergy to certain raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, spices and nuts causing allergic reactions in the throat and mouth.
Botanical List of Food Families
Cross-sensitivities among plant families is an evolving field of interest. Ever wonder why your peanut-allergic child hates peas? They are in the same food family! He/she may be sensitive to peas as well as peanut or they may just not like them. Birch pollen allergies are been linked with various tree nut allergies. Gives various common North American foods and their related food families.
Be Aware of Lookalike Bracelets
MedicAlert® émet une mise en garde concernant les imitations de ses bracelets
Here's why MedicAlert® bracelets are different from ones you buy in the jewellery store or pharmacy. There are important differences!
Top 10 Reasons for Wearing MedicAlert ID
Wearing medical identification bracelets or necklaces can save your life! Emergency medical people rely on it for helping them apply the appropriate treatment regime for you.
Cross-Contamination: What is Peanut/Nut Free?
Contamination croisée: Qu'est-ce qu'on peut considérer sans arachides?
Explains what is meant by the terms "peanut-free" and "Cross-Contamination", how to avoid nuts/peanuts, and gives examples of how easily peanuts and nut particles can be transferred to other foods and surfaces. These principles apply to other food allergens, not just peanut. Written by a family in our group.
Food Allergies and the Preteen Years: Staying Alive (AAIA)
Discusses some of the social challenges our children face in the awkward transition period of learning to step out on their own.
Introducing Foods To a Baby Who May Have Food Allergies (AAIA)
Here are some practical guidelines for introducing foods if you suspect that your child has food allergies or sensitivities.
"Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings" Manual
"L’anaphylaxie à l’école et dans d’autres milieux"
This manual provides anaphylaxis basics and recommendations for anaphylaxis management. Published by the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (allergists' professsional association) in consultation with key allergy care/info providers. Replaces the CSACI 1995 Consensus statement.
There are two ways to get the handbook:
~ View/print excerpts from Allergy Safe Communities or Sécurité Allergie
~ Order from AAIA for $15 plus shipping & handling.
Anaphylaxis: A Handbook for School Boards
Anaphylaxie: Guide à l'intention Des commissions et conseils scolaires
An excellent resource published by the Canadian School Boards Association. Everyone in the school community has a role and responsibilities for ensuring a safer environment for children with life-threatening allergies. Includes a legal perspective, list of roles and responsibilities, posters and letters you can use as templates to send to parents. Donate a copy to your school, health unit and public library. Letters reproduced below.
|| (English) (français)
A Guide for Parents/Students with Anaphylaxis (AAIA)
Guide pour parent/eléves au sujet de l'anaphylaxis
Here's a partial checklist for parents of a child with a potentially life-threatening allergy, the child him/herself and their school.
Food Allergies: Managing Risks at School (AAIA)
Living in this world entails risks. It's unavoidable. How do we identify and manage the risks for our food-allergic children (and others with health concerns) at school? You can send your child to school and not go crazy every day with worry!
Cleaning Up Peanut Allergen Residue - Research
A short article on a research study conducted to determine what is effective for cleaning up peanut residue from tables.
Frig Magnets Master ( WORD document)
Use this master to create magnets to hand out to your child's classmates (ask for teacher's permission first).
Can be changed for any allergy.
Encourages parents to call you if they have any questions about food. A gentle reminder for your classmates.
1. Buy a set of business card sized magnets from your office supply store
2. Revise and print out the labels on bright paper
3. Cut the labels out
4. Stick the labels onto the magnets.
5. Hand out to the class in September - work with the teacher.
XXX-free snacks for Mrs. Smith's class
If you have any questions about snack ingredients, please feel free to call [name] at
Tips for Lunch Packers
Are you or your child bored with lunch? It's easy to fall into a rut. This article is handed out by our Calgary Health Services Nutrition Division and offers excellent alternatives for everyone's lunch. It is written for the general public with good nutrition in mind. It does not deal with food allergies so adjust for your own needs so please no emails about the fact that is has peanut butter included.
Managing Food Allergies in the Classroom/Preparing Food Safely
Comment faire face aux allergies alimentaires en classe/Préparer les aliments de façon sécuritaire
Developed by staff at Middlesex-London Health Unit and may be reproduced without permission provided that Middlesex Health Unit is properly acknowledged at the source. 1993. AAIA approved.
Food Restrictions in Schools (AAIA)
This has been a hot topic in many school districts. Various solutions have been put in place with varying success. Here are some more thoughts on the subject.
Teacher's Guide to Allergy and Anaphylaxis
Les allergies et l'anaphylaxie: guide pour le personnel enseignant à l'école
A handy summary of how to deal with life-threatening allergic reactions originally provided by the now-defunct Allergy/Asthma Association of Alberta.
Teacher's Guide to Asthma
L'asthme - Un guide pour le personnel enseignant à l'école
A handy summary of how to deal with asthma and potentially life-threatening attacks originally provided by the now-defunct Allergy/Asthma Association of Alberta.
Teacher's Guide to Eczema
A handy summary of how to deal with eczema originally provided by the now-defunct Allergy/Asthma Association of Alberta.
Promising Practices in Special Education Articles
An excellent series of articles of actual school situations published in the publication "Promising Practices in Special Education" published by the Alberta Education Special Education Branch.
Life, Liberty and peanut butter?
A thought provoking article on the community's responsibility to provide for people with disabilities, specifically those with anaphylaxis. By Isabel Grant, a Canadian law professor.
Peanut Allergies: A Medico-Legal Perspective
Published by EduLaw, The Education Law Reporter, Vol 7, No. 9, May 1996
By Joel Doctor, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C) Allergy and Clinical Immunology
and Elaine Doctor, B.Ed., M.A., LL.B., Barrister and Solicitor. An excellent article which no one should be without!
Anaphylaxis and Schoolyard Violence (AAIA)
La brutalité à l'école
Helpful tips on handling these situations, both by confronting the bullying behaviour and by helping your child take constructive steps to help him/herself.
Why Don't We Just Ban Peanuts (and Nuts) at School?
Pourquoi ne pas simplement interdire les arachides (et noix) dans les écoles?
Food bans are a hot topic in many communities today. Here are some reasons why they are not a good idea. No major North American allergy group supports banning foods on a school-wide basis.
Calgary Board of Education (CBE) Severe Allergies Policy
Policy AR6003 (http://www.cbe.ab.ca/Policies/policies/AR6003.pdf)
Updated Resource List (revision not yet posted on CBE web site)
Visit the CBE web site for an Acrobat document (proper formatting). The policy includes a Student Poster, a Severe Allergy Alert to list medical protocol and a Resource List.
Having a policy helps define roles and expectations for staff, admin, parents and children. Ongoing education, diplomacy, a realistic approach and asking for cooperation are necessary to make it work.
We strongly encourage school councils to download a free copy of "Anaphylaxis: A Handbook for School Boards".
Alberta Education - Allergy & Anaphylaxis Informational Response
School Support Articles Menu
This menu lists a variety of documents such as: help for organizing a school support group, lesson plans and school activities involving food.
Back to School with Allergies and Asthma (AAIA)
Don't know where to start to prepare for your child's special needs for school? Here are some practical hints and strategies.
The Ins and Outs of Peer Pressure
This is a general article about peer pressure. We need to start preparing our children at a young age on how to accept their uniqueness. Check out your local library for more resources on this topic.
Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Home (AAIA)
Find lots of practical tips about breathing easier in your own home.
Perfume - Workplace Issues - see Links page
Duct Cleaning - Fact and Fiction - off site article
CMHC home English (http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/)
CMHC home French (http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/fr/)
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has lots of great articles. Just enter "air quality" in their Search box and you'll get a big list.
Asthma and Ozone/ Air Cleaners - off site articles
"Ozone is a potent lung irritant and exposure to elevated levels is a contributor to the exacerbation of lung disease; it is especially dangerous for persons with asthma and other chronic lung diseases, children, and the elderly. Residential indoor ozone is produced directly by ozone generators and indirectly by ion generators and some other electronic air cleaners. "
Some good articles from the Lung Association and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA site - Ozone, ozone generators and air cleaners review
Maintenance of a Dust-Free Room
Here are some tips courtesy of the Bayer Corporation on keeping those dust mites under control, especially in your bedroom.
Tips on Mold Avoidance
Conseils en CE regarde l'allergie aux moisissures
This is a great article courtesy of the Bayer Corporation. Describes what molds are, their living conditions and practical tips on controlling them. It touches on their presence in food, but does not discuss foods to avoid. Melons, grapes, raisins, pickled foods and alcoholic beverages can be high sources of mold. Discuss food choices with your health practitioner before making any dietary changes.
Other good sources of mould info:
Canada Mortgage and Housing - English (http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/) or
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ )
How To Avoid Stinging Insects
An informative article with lots of ideas on how to avoid those darn bugs! Thanks to Bayer Corporation for letting us use the article!
The AAIA web site has excellent full-colour brochures on peanut and nut allergies in English and French.
Peanut Allergy -- What You Need to Know
L'allergie aux arachides - Ce que vous devez savoir
A great article detailing the factors which contribute to fatal peanut reactions and the lifestyle adjustments which must be made. Many of these items could be used for other life-threatening allergies as well. Originally prepared by the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society of Ontario with some corrected typos.
Peanut /Soy Allergy
Dr. Antony Ham Pong has graciously allowed us to reproduce his handouts on several topics (see also milk, egg allergy). They are quite thorough in their content.
Tree Nut Allergy
Dr. Antony Ham Pong has graciously allowed us to reproduce his handouts on several topics (see also milk, egg allergy). They are quite thorough in their content.
CBC peanut allergy research article
CBC, our Canadian broadcaster has a number of peanut allergy articles which can be found by doing a search on their web site.
Peanut allergy may not be permanent
Last Updated: Friday, February 9, 2001
Up to 20 per cent of people who had a peanut allergy as a child may end up outgrowing their reaction. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University report some people can go from worrying about a severe or even fatal reaction to eating peanut butter sandwiches without a care in the world. The study, published in the February 2001 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, looked at a group of 223 people with a well-documented peanut allergy.
The patients, aged four to 20, were tested for their reaction to peanuts. And, since food allergies often travel together, their allergy histories were taken. The volunteers then underwent skin testing, which measures redness and swelling after pricking the skin with an allergen, in this case peanut. The researchers also measured the level of peanut specific IgE in the patients blood. Those who met specific criteria, were then invited to eat some peanut protein. One hundred and twenty-six patients were eligible for this stage of the testing. Of the 85 who agreed to participate, 48 had no adverse reaction. So over 20 per cent of all the children studied had lost their allergy.
Ed note: Research is continuing. Our daughter has outgrown her allergy - we hope it's permanent.
Dr. Ham Pong's Peanut Allergy Research Update
Here are details of Dr. Ham Pong's (Ottawa allergist/researcher) study on identifying people who may have outgrown peanut allergy.
Outgrowing Peanut Allergy: Our Experience
This is the brief story of how our daughter (webmaster speaking) was included in Dr. Ham Pong's study and was determined to have outgrown her peanut allergy.
Peanut Allergy: How Much Peanut Is Too Much?
Here is a great article by Dr. Michael Goldman detailing the results of several studies on peanut ingestion and the subsequent reactions, his conclusions and some practical advice.
Why Peanuts, Why Now?
An article, written by Janice Paskey, a freelance writer and originally published in the Calgary Herald in 1999, explores why peanut allergy seems to have gained prominence in recent years. Doctors such as Dr. Hugh Sampson, Dr. Stuart Carr and Dr. Scott Sicherer discuss their views. Recent work in anaphylaxis research is also discussed.
Why Don't We Just Ban Peanuts/Nuts in School? (details in School section)
Peanut Allergy: Where Do We Stand?
This evolving page is located on the Association of Allergists and Immunologists of Quebec web site. It summarizes the research from the latest publications and is updated as new information is obtained from the medical literature, meetings,etc. It has become quite large and loosely organized. They also have a number of other excellent articles on their public pages.
Check out the Links page: Canadian Food Inspection Agency site for the current requirements. Sign up for their email alerts re food recalls.
Also see Health Canada's Food Allergen labelling page listing .
Canadian Food Labelling Laws: When is a label not a label
This article was written by Dr. Antony Ham Pong and Marian Zarkadas, a retired food specialist at Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada. The laws and guidelines regarding labels are constantly under evaluation and change.
It's good to know what has to be listed and what doesn't. Call the manufacturer if you're not sure of the ingredients - get contact info from the package or from the grocery store.
US Food Labelling Act
Here's a short blurb about the 2004 US Food Labeling legislation and a link to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network web site's information page.
Manufacturers / Toll-Free Numbers
This page provides manufacturer contact information and web sites which can provide it also. If you find one which is outdated, please let us know so that we change our information. One contact is considered to be worth 200, since companies assume that if one person complains, 200 people probably agree but haven't contacted the company. Your feedback counts for a lot!!
Reading Food Labels for Milk Ingredients
Here are some common ingredients which indicate the presence of milk. In Canada, it can also be included on a label as "spices" or "flavourings" without being listed specifically as milk (I hope this changes). There are also a few ingredients with the word "lactylate, lactate or lactic acid" which are additives not derived from milk.
Reporting a Food Reaction due to Mislabelling or Contamination
In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for many aspects of food safety and regulation. If you have a food reaction due to possible mislabelling of food or contamination due to cross-contamination with other foods or bacterial contamination, contact the Agency to make a complaint. They will investigate the complaint and take action if needed.
AAIA has excellent full-colour brochures on egg and dairy allergies in English and French on their web site.
Facts on Food Hypersensitivity to Egg
This article is from the now defunct Allergy Asthma Association of Alberta from 1987. However, I think much of the information is still useful. Includes a list of names that egg is listed under in ingredients labels, substitutions and their effect on the product, and a list of specific foods to avoid.
Facts about Hypersensitivity to Corn
This article is from the now defunct Allergy Asthma Association of Alberta. It's dated but still relevant. Corn is still heavily used in just about everything.
See Links page for more Corn allergy web sites.
Milk Allergy: The Facts (AAIA)
L'allergie au lait: les faits
This article gives information about milk allergy, how it is different from lactose intolerance, and how to read a label for milk products.
Two more great handouts from Dr. Antony Ham Pong, Ottawa.
30 Second Asthma Test
Think your asthma is under control? Take the test and see how you fare.
Courtesy of Asthma in Canada.
Asthma - Breathtaking News (AAIA)
L'asthme - Nouvelles époustouflantes
Here is the latest on conventional asthma treatment published in November 1999. A good summary of the most recent drug introductions and a good overall description of how to manage your asthma.
Coping Strategies for School Children and Teens with Asthma (AAIA)
Here are some practical strategies and actions to take for dealing with asthma in the school setting.
Gastroesophageal Reflux and Asthma (AAIA)
This article talks about how acid reflux from the stomach, or heartburn, can be a potential trigger for asthma. Chronic reflux can also be a symptom of other diseases such as esophageal cancer so get it checked out!!