Food allergies affect over 1.4 million Canadians, and this number is increasing. Allergic reactions to a food can happen quickly and without warning. The most dangerous symptoms include breathing difficulties or a drop in blood pressure with shock, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, anaphylaxis or even death.
Foods commonly associated with food allergies:
Peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts), sesame seeds, soy, seafood, wheat, eggs, milk, mustard and sulphites are the most common food allergens associated with severe allergic reactions in Canada.
Steps to protect yourself and your family:
There is no cure for food allergies. Avoiding an allergen is the only effective way to prevent a reaction. Here are some important steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family:
- Read product labels carefully. Note that manufacturers sometimes change ingredients.
- Avoid products that contain any specific allergens that affect you.
- Avoid products displaying a precautionary statement about an allergen you are allergic to (e.g., May contain: X).
- Avoid products that contain ingredients you don't recognize.
- Only buy food products that show a list of ingredients.
- If you're eating at a restaurant or a friend's house, tell them about your food allergy and ask about the foods that are being served.
- If your doctor has prescribed an epinephrine/adrenaline auto-injector, learn how to use it and carry it with you at all times.
- Wear a MedicAlert identifier so that others know about your allergies in the event of an accident.