What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe kind of allergic reaction. It can cause death, although the majority of reactions are less severe. It is also sometimes described as "allergic shock" or "general allergic reaction" or "systemic allergic reaction". Anaphylaxis must always be taken seriously as it is impossible to know in advance how severe a reaction will be.
An anaphylactic reaction usually involves more than one body system. For example, a local reaction would be a wasp sting that causes swelling near the site of the sting. However if generalized hives and respiratory difficulties were to develop, it would be classified as an anaphylactic reaction.
An anaphylactic reaction can progress in severity very quickly. Without the immediate administration of epinephrine, death can result. (Epinephrine is a synthetic version of adrenaline, a hormone that occurs naturally in the body.)
There are deaths every year in Canada due to anaphylaxis and while the number is not large, many occur in young adults and teens and most are preventable. Families with anaphylactic children often feel overwhelmed since a considerable amount of effort must be put into avoidance strategies on a daily basis. They are frequently worried that others do not understand the condition and will not take the avoidance strategies seriously or will make choices based on incorrect information.
Most severe anaphylactic reactions result from insect stings, medications, food, latex and, in rare cases, exercise.
Source: The AAIA Anaphylaxis Reference Kit, an educational tool to improve the management of anaphylaxis across Canada.
Learn how the 3 As will help you cope: Awareness, Avoidance, Action
CSACI guidelines for schools
Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings, 3rd Edition Revised*
*Note: These resources are for educational purposes only. Refer to the Copyright page of each document for additional information.
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by episodes of swelling in different areas of the body that could be confused with Anaphylaxis.
Peanut and Nut Allergies: The Facts
Many people believe that peanuts and nuts come from the same botanical family.
In fact, peanuts are a member of the legume family (peas, beans and lentils).
Nuts grow on trees and sometimes are called tree nuts to distinguish them from peanuts.
People allergic to peanuts are not necessarily allergic to tree nuts, and vice versa.
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Milk allergy results from a hypersensitivity of the immune system to the proteins in cow's milk. Symptoms can occur within minutes or hours of contact with milk... [read more...]
Allergy to eggs is caused by the immune system's reaction to a protein in eggs. Two factors are necessary for a food allergy to occur - genetic predisposition and exposure to the food. The seriousness of reactions to eggs varies from mild to life-threatening, depending on the person and the amount of egg eaten. [read more...]
by Eric Byrtus, Edmonton, AB
by Erika Ladouceur, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC
Dr. Antony Ham Pong, MD FRCP, is an Ottawa-based allergist who responds to questions from an AAIA member about egg allergen
For parents of food allergic children, holidays and celebrations are often filled with “anxious” anticipation instead of joyful anticipation. [read more...]
If you are allergic to one food and want to find out which foods belong to the same food group...[read more...]
British Columbia school districts are required to develop and implement anaphylaxis policies that meet new, rigorous provincial standards... [read more...]
by Mary Allen, Chief Executive Officer, AAIA
by Claire Dufresne, Executive director, Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires
by Mary Allen, AAIA CEO
Information on milk allergy and asthma/allergy medications that have trace amounts of cow's milk protein [read more...]
A partial checklist of responsibilities and actions. Implemented conscientiously, these suggestions will help make the school experience safe and positive for both the child and the school. [read more...]
by Nancy Wiebe, AAIA Volunteer
Some imported items may have been meant for other markets. [read more...]
Contact information for reporting to the Government of Canada. [read more...]
Lupin, a legume which includes over 450 species, is used for human and animal consumption. Lupin seeds have been part of normal food intake since ancient times... [read more...]
Health Canada has prepared regulatory amendments to enhance labeling requirements for specific priority allergens, gluten sources and sulphites in prepackaged foods sold in Canada. [read more...]
by Lois King, AAIA Volunteer, Ottawa, ON
by Gloria Shanks, Atlantic Regional Coordinator
Report to House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, March 14, 2002
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