March 21 is Quebec Food Allergy Day, as decreed in 2000 by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in order to raise awareness about this condition and the number of people affected in the province.
Allergies Québec reiterates its commitment to support the allergic community in Quebec. Sharing knowledge on managing food allergies and on how to treat them in case of an emergency really makes a difference. According to reports, up to 75 per cent of people allergic to peanuts have been accidentally exposed to this allergen. And it must be emphasized that when an emergency occurs, every minute counts.
In Canada, peanuts, wheat, milk, mustard, tree nuts, eggs, fish and shellfish, sesame and soy have been identified as priority allergens because they are responsible for the majority of severe allergic reactions. Over 160 allergenic foods have been identified in Canada.
Food allergies represent a health condition growing rapidly in Quebec and affects twice as many children as adults, or approximately 8 per cent of those under 18 in the province. In addition, an 18 per cent increase has been reported in this segment of the population over the past 10 years. Meanwhile allergic adults represent about 4 per cent of Quebec’s population.
This situation is worrisome, in a context where Quebec is the only Canadian province that does not have standardization – such as, for example, regulations or legislation – making it possible to standardize practices related to the management of anaphylaxis in schools. This means that there is no legislation requiring school service centers to establish and maintain an anaphylaxis policy to assist students with severe allergies, as compared to the other provinces in Canada. In fact, although teachers receive training, as do staff working in daycare settings, it is often up to families to ensure adequate care.
“People living with food allergies, as well as their loved ones, must exercise constant vigilance, which begins when planning outings and meals,” says Dominique Seigneur, communications director for Allergies Québec. “As this health condition can lead to serious consequences during a reaction, it is important to talk about it, to inform and raise awareness among the population.”
As a reference center committed to supporting those affected by allergies, their families and their community, Allergies Québec broadcasts an interactive program on its website. Among the tools provided are a podcast series, webinars, informative videos, contests and much more.
– Allergies Quebec