Information Day For Life-Threatening Allergies

By: News Canada

(NC)-Your teenage son has a food allergy to peanuts and the best way to save his life during an allergic reaction is to keep the injectable adrenaline, also called epinephrine, near at all times. It worries you however, that this is not always assured in his busy, increasingly independent lifestyle.

It is important to devise ways to make it easy for him to remember to carry at least one dose of epinephrine with him at all times. On September 19, Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is holding an information day to provide this exact help. The HealthWatch for Children Day will be held at as many as 800 stores across Canada where pharmacists will conduct a one-on-one educational session with allergic individuals, parents, or caregivers of children with food and other potentially life-threatening allergies.

The sessions will include a demonstration of how to properly use a spring-loaded injector; how to recognize early symptoms of anaphylaxis; and what to do should an anaphylactic reaction occur.

Anaphylaxis, the term for life-threatening allergies, is on the increase in Canada and because of it there is growing concern among the medical profession regarding patient knowledge and education. Some of the leading issues cited are that patients:

o fail to carry epinephrine at all times.

o are unsure about using an auto-injector correctly.

o fail to use epinephrine immediately since early symptoms of anaphylaxis can be mild.

o fail to be taken to a hospital once epinephrine has been administered.

During the HealthWatch for Children Day, a special pharmacist-directed clinic will guide parents through these issues during private 20-minute appointments. Parents will be provided with an updated HealthWatch brochure, Food Allergies and Intolerance; a fanny pack for children, large enough to hold two doses of epinephrine and laminated instructions on how to administer the medication with an auto-injector, which can be carried around in the fanny pack.

Anaphylaxis Canada, and Association Quebecois des Allergies Alimentaires have endorsed the Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix initiative on this important health focus, and suggest that the Sept. 19 information day will go a long way to provide information and clarification. Contact your local Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix for an appointment.

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