Category Archives: Uncategorized

Webinar: Managing food allergy in college/university

June 25 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join us for a lively webinar led by a panel of post-secondary students with food allergies as they impart their tips and best practices for managing food allergy in college/university settings.

Details of this webinar

teens-on-computers-1024x636.jpg

  • What is the webinar about: How to navigate post-secondary school, and live safely on campus with food allergies. The panel will share their experiences, insight, and provide strategies on how youth can identify food allergy risks on campus and how to prepare accordingly.
  • Who is presenting: A panel of youth with food allergies who are currently attending post-secondary school.
  • When is the webinar: Sunday June 25, 2017 from 8pm-9pm EDT
  • Who should attend: This is a must-attend session for youth who are soon entering, or already in, post-secondary school. Parents of youth, school staff, and others who are interested in this topic are also welcome to attend.

Register today

The Best (and Worst) Food Allergy Jokes

As with most humour, there is the potential to offend your audience. As someone who has lived with anaphylaxis my whole life, I often find comfort in my ability to laugh things off or look at the brighter side in life. I understand wholeheartedly that this is a serious condition with potentially life-threatening consequences. If any of these jokes are distasteful and offensive to you, I apologize. They are, in my opinion, the best (and worst) food allergy jokes out there!

Two happy woman friends laughingDid you hear about the Frenchman who could only count to seven?
-He had a huit allergy

What does an allergic person have in common with bees?
-They both have hives!

Did you hear about the convict who had allergies?
-He broke out

Why didn’t the child with allergies play the board game Clue?
It contained Mustard!

Why did the chicken cross the road?
-To avoid his allergen

What did the night owl say to his pal the early riser?
-I’m allergic to mornings.

Teacher: Where’s your homework?
Student: I’m allergic to homework.

1: Knock, knock.
2: Who’s there?
1: Auntie
2: Ben who?
1: Anti-Histamine

1: Knock, knock.
2: Who’s there?
1: May
2: May who?
1: May contain trace amounts of ‘nuts’

What was the cause of the tech-guru’s most recent seafood reaction?
-Her new shell-phone!

– Nicole K.

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Now Calling: New Blog Writers!

 

Retro human hand with the finger pointing or gesturing towards you. Vintage hipster illustration isolated on white background

Are you a blogger? Do you enjoy writing about intriguing topics and sparking conversation amongst your peers? Would you like to be part of a one-of-a-kind team that is leading the way for other adults with food allergies just like you?

The Adults with Allergies Blog is looking to expand its team for 2017 to make it bigger and better than ever! We are looking for more stories, more advice, and more tips to help others live safely and confidently with allergies. Having food allergies is not a necessity but knowledge and/or experience with them would be considered an asset.

If you are interested, please contact us (https://adultswithallergies.com/contact/). The following link can also be used to find the application form (note #7): http://foodallergycanada.ca/get-involved/volunteer/

We look forward to hearing from you!

– Dylan (Blog Editor)

Five Food Allergy Myths I Learned at the Food Allergy Canada Community Conference

Speaker at Business Conference with Public Presentations. Audience at the conference hall. Entrepreneurship club. Rear view. Horisontal composition. Background blur.

As an individual who has been living with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts since I was two, I have heard many misconceptions about food allergies over the years. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the Food Allergy Canada Community Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Throughout the day I listened to speakers share their experiences about living with food allergies, as well as fascinating information from doctors in food allergy research. A presentation by Dr. Sandy Kapur, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University, stood out to me as he spoke about common food allergy misconceptions and research that “de-bunks” these myths. Here are five food allergy myths that I learned from Dr. Kapur:

  1. “Hives and food allergy always go together”

This isn’t always the case. In fact, about 15-20% of anaphylactic cases do not have any symptoms on the skin. I also learned that if someone has hives and they persist for over 6 weeks, this symptom is likely not caused by food. In children, viral infections are one of the most common cases of hives, and there are numerous physical causes for hives as well.

http://www.foodallergy.org/file/anaphylaxis-webinar-slides.pdf

http://www.eaaci.org/attachments/853_Expert_Opinion_Zuberbier.pdf

  1. “All children with egg or milk allergy should avoid the food strictly”

Interestingly, 80% of children with an egg or milk allergy can tolerate the baked form. These children also have a higher chance of out growing their allergy. It is suggested that regular ingestion of baked egg or milk can help overcome the allergy.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4727327/

  1. “Reactions to peanut are often caused by inhaled exposure”

Food proteins cause allergic reactions. The odour of peanut butter does not contain proteins. Inhalation of peanut particles can cause symptoms, but anaphylaxis is unlikely. When an individual with peanut allergy feels ill from smell, it is due to aversion. Rashes are caused by skin contact, not from inhalation of particles.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12847496

  1. “Patients with food allergy have a high risk of reacting to insect stings”

If you have a food allergy it is likely that you also have one or more of asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. Having a food allergy does not increase the risk of reacting to insect stings since venom, along with drug allergies, are different and not related to food allergies.

http://www.allergysa.org/Content/Journals/March2004/abc%20of%20allergology.pdf

Hornet on a hand sting in the skin

 

  1. “I feel like my child is a ‘ticking time bomb’ and will have a fatal anaphylactic reaction anytime”

Death from a food allergy is not common. When it does occur, it’s a tragedy and in most cases it is preventable by immediate use of epinephrine and calling for an ambulance. Lastly, food allergy related anxiety is common in parents, children, and individuals with allergies. Fear is understandable; we just need to find the right balance.

https://www.foodallergy.org/anaphylaxis

If you believed one or more of these myths, don’t worry – so did I! It’s important that we are always seeking to learn more about food allergies and have the knowledge to spread information of awareness to those around us.

– Michelle D.

A Quest to Understanding the History of Food Allergies

When I was thinking of an allergy blog topic to write about for the month of June, my first idea of course was related to food. I was thinking about how food options for people with allergies has changed drastically in the past two decades. I too frequently tell the story of growing up in my small farming community and my parents ordering me allergen-safe food all the way from Toronto— now my local hometown grocery store has it’s own gluten-free section. The overall change in allergy-friendly food options is of course reactive to how the prevalence of food allergies, as well as awareness of food allergies, has increased over the years. Instead of questioning the change in allergy friendly options over the past two decades, I began to wonder about the history of food allergies in general and how they have developed alongside modern medicine.

Happy New Year 2016. Jigsaw puzzle timeline.

To look into this overarching question, like any good millennial I took to the internet.  I quickly found that learning about the history of food allergies wasn’t as easy of a search as searching common egg substitutes in baking. Despite the lack of volume of information, I did find some interesting reads that shed a bit of light on our early understanding of food allergies which I will highlight in this post.

Interestingly enough, the earliest documentation of the adverse effects of food on human’s health came from none other than Hippocrates.  He described adverse food effects in his writing On Ancient Medicine in 400 B.C.E (http://classics.mit.edu/Hippocrates/ancimed.20.20.html):
“For cheese does not prove equally injurious to all men, for there are some who can take it to satiety, without being hurt by it in the least, but, on the contrary, it is wonderful what strength it imparts to those it agrees with; but there are some who do not bear it well, their constitutions are different, they differ in this respect, that what in their body is incompatible with cheese, is roused and put in commotion by such a thing”

Even in 400 B.C.E Hippocrates could empathize with not being able to enjoy the popular dairy product!

One of the most enjoyable reads on the history of food allergies that I found came from a short paper titled A Brief History on Food Allergies, which is actually a small chapter featured in the Super Allergy Cookbook written by Lisa Lundy. In this writing, Lundy describes the earliest recognition of food allergies in modern medicine at the beginning of the 19th century.  At this time doctors were making observations and documenting the connection between food and problematic health issues in their patients. One of the earliest modern writings came from Dr. Francis Hare of Australia. In 1905, Dr. Hare published a 1,000-page book entitled The Food Factor in Disease and sought to explain the relation between food and multiple diseases including: migraines, asthma, gout, headaches, eczema, GI disturbances, hypertension, bronchitis. See any connections to symptoms that we see today from food?

As for coining the term “allergy,” A Brief History on Food Allergies also discusses this moment. Dr. Clemens von Pirquet is given credit as the first to suggest using the word allergy to describe an inappropriate reaction to food or other substances that was typically not considered harmful. Another notable character on the road to developing or understanding of food allergies is Dr. Arthur Coca who not only proved the relation of exposure to food allergens causing a change in a person’s pulse, but went on to found the Journal of Immunology in 1915. These are just a small highlight of some of the early work to building our understanding of modern food allergies.

I would definitely recommend reading Lisa Lundy’s paper: http://www.thesuperallergycookbook.com/PDF/FoodAllergypaper.pdf

What about the history of developing medical treatment for anaphylactic reactions triggered by food allergens? In this day and age, the epinephrine auto-injector is the well-known treatment and lifeline for anyone suffering from an anaphylactic reaction and works to restore plummeting blood pressure that can prove to be very quickly life-threatening.  It turns out that the invention of the epinephrine auto-injector was a spin off a Cold War invention of a hollow-needle that allowed troops to self-inject an antidote to nerve gas! In the 1970’s, inventor Stephen Kaplan saw that simple modifications would allow this to be used by civilians particularly for those suffering from an anaphylactic reaction.  A brief history of the EpiPen® can be read in the article written by Mary Ellen Bowden A Mighty Pen and is featured online in the Chemical Heritage Magazine: http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/magazine/articles/31-3-mighty-pen.aspx.

Developing our understanding of food allergies has led to not only placing a focus on treatment and management of allergies but studying the exponential increase in prevalence of allergies in today’s society. A great resource that looks deep into more modern research on this topic is the Nature of Things- With David Suzuki episode “The Allergy Fix”:  http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/the-allergy-fix. In this episode, startling facts are addressed.  This includes the fact that children in today’s society are three times more likely to have food allergies compared to children twenty years ago. Different research hypotheses that have been proposed for this increase are also discussed in this episode including the Hygiene Hypothesis which suggests that societies have become too sanitary and therefore not exposing children to certain germs that can actually be protective to their immune system. An interesting historical research finding that highlights this point mentioned in the episode states that when the Berlin Wall came down those living in the industrial and more “polluted” East side of Germany had a significant lower number of allergies as opposed to those living in “cleaner” west Germany. The Allergy Fix is definitely an episode worth checking out that summarizes where we have gotten to with our modern understanding of food allergies.

Have any interesting facts or findings old or new about food allergies? Feel free to share below!

– Caitlyn P.

Hidden Allergens in Beauty Products

To the average person who does not have allergies, many believe that reading labels does not go beyond those on foods. Many people are surprised to find that when I shop for new make-up or beauty products, I will spend excessive amounts of time in the shopping aisle, struggling to read the fine print of lengthy ingredient labels.

When shopping for new beauty products, it is really important to know exactly what you need to avoid and that you take the time to read labels. The labels on beauty products are often very long and I am always tempted to skim through them. However, too often I find an ingredient I am allergic to.

set of  decorative cosmetic powder, concealer, eye shadow brush, blush, foundation

Personally, I try to stick to the same products that I know are safe, but being a twenty-year-old girl, I often want to try new brands of products. I have tree nut allergies, as well as an allergy to formaldehyde that results in dermatitis. Before finding out I had this allergy, I thought formaldehyde was simply used in laboratories for preservation, but little did I know formaldehyde-releasing chemicals could be found in many low-budget beauty products! To complicate things further, after being diagnosed with this allergy, my dermatologist provided me with a list of 6 chemical names that are actually formaldehyde, since you will never find formaldehyde listed in an ingredients list.

Formaldehyde is not the only allergen that has multiple names. Even with tree nut allergies, there are many different types of nuts and oils that can cause a reaction. Your best bet is to do some research about your allergens so you have a better idea of what ingredients to watch for. Make sure you check the label every time you buy a product, even if you always buy the same brand, because ingredients can change without warning. It is much easier to read the label than to deal with the consequences of a reaction.

Another thing to keep in mind is that just because a product claims that it is hypoallergenic, does not necessarily mean it will be safe for you. The meaning behind a hypoallergenic product is that it has a low chance of causing a reaction. Be sure to check labels regardless!

– Sara S.