Allergy training a \"step in the right direction\"

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 10:17am
2BusyBoys's picture
Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

Joseph Chin
Feb 27, 2007

The City of Mississauga is the first municipality in the GTA to provide first aid training regarding allergic reactions to food workers at three City facilities.

Staff involved with contracted concessions at the Hershey Centre, City Centre transit terminal and the Living Arts Centre will be trained in the use of epinephrine auto-injectors, which deliver life-saving medication.

Dr. Susan Waserman, president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was in Mississauga Feb. 21 to update councillors on the condition, which she describes as a growing epidemic.

"An estimated 600,000 Canadians have a serious allergy that puts them at risk for anaphylaxis," she said.

Common triggers include food, insect stings, and latex. The most dangerous symptoms of ananaphylactic reaction involve breathing difficulties caused by swelling of the airways or feeling faint, weak or dizzy caused by a drop in blood pressure. Waserman dispelled some common misconceptions.

"The smell of peanut butter or skin contact alone will not send a child into shock," she said. "And, when we talk about food, it's not just nuts. Tree nuts, seafood, egg and milk products are also common triggers."

What's factual, though, is 90 per cent of highly sensitive children with peanut allergy will not experience an attack.

"Fatalities are rare; and they can be prevented," she said.

Two years ago, following a request by a resident that the City discontinue the sale of peanut and nut products at its facilities, council asked staff to study the issue and report back. Subsequently, it was decided that no changes were required.

"We were hounded, but we resisted. The question was, do we ban all these things? When do we stop banning?" recalls Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Waserman said Mississauga is "taking steps in the right direction by not simply banning allergens."

On Jan. 1, 2006 Sabrina's Law came into effect and set minimum standards for Ontario schools with regard to anaphylaxis. School boards are now required to have in place a formal anaphylaxis management plan, implement strategies to reduce the risk of exposure, and ensure staff training in the use of epinephrine.

But such requirements are not feasible at community facilities, says John Lohuis, Mississauga's director of recreation & parks.

"Our recreation programs have over 180,000 annual registrations and recreation facilities have over 10 million visitors on an annual basis," Lohuis noted. "Even if efforts are made to increase resources to increase vigilance, the volume of traffic suggests that at some point an anaphylactic reaction will occur."

The new training initiative will ensure there is always, at a minimum, one staff person in the facility with first aid training.

"During events at the Hershey Centre, for instance, a team of paramedics is required to be on site," Lohuis said.

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 10:20am
2BusyBoys's picture
Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

[b]What's factual, though, is 90 per cent of highly sensitive children with peanut allergy will not experience an attack. [/b]
Anyone have any idea where this percentage is coming from?

Posted on: Wed, 02/28/2007 - 2:30pm
NicoleinNH's picture
Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

I have the same question about the 90& statistic...does that mean 10% of peanut allergic children will have a fatal reaction? GULP...

Posted on: Wed, 02/28/2007 - 2:31pm
NicoleinNH's picture
Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by NicoleinNH:
[b]I have the same question about the 90& statistic...does that mean 10% of peanut allergic children will have a fatal reaction? GULP...[/b]
OK, reread it--she means only 10% will experience an anaphylactic reaction? That is easier to think about...

Posted on: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 3:47am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

The figure is from a statistical analysis conducted on an EXTREMELY SMALL sample of PA people to evaluate aerosol sensitivity.
I think that Sampson was an author. Anyway-- the conclusions were (IMO) not very broadly applicable (not that this stops people from using the number) since that 90% figure is rarely used with appropriate caveats, and the sample of PA participants in the study may not have been a good "distribution" of sensitivity anyway, KWIM?
Studies like that also ALWAYS rely upon "objective" symptoms only. So things like [i]"my mouth is on fire'[/i] don't count. Unless you have observable external symptoms.

Posted on: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:14am
2BusyBoys's picture
Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

Thanks Corvallis Mom [img][/img]

Posted on: Sun, 03/04/2007 - 6:27am
SkyMom's picture
Joined: 10/27/2001 - 09:00

In my opinion, this is another victory for pa. The fact that this is being implemented city wide for public facilities should be a benchmark for all cities. IMO, pa is an invisable life-threatening disability and there are already accomodations in place for many other disabilities that are non-life threatening (adding not less serious just non-life threatening)
At what point would any study have credibility? Dr. Wasserman is a highly respected allergist in Canada. If you look at the participants of any study, what if there are only people who do not have aerosol sensitivies at all, like my dd. Or vice versa. In a way I think all studies done on pa are too vague unless a search is done to include all types of pa sensitivities.
[This message has been edited by SkyMom (edited March 04, 2007).]

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