Friday, March 23, 2012

Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Anaphylaxis Events - Spring 2012

There are a lot of great events going on this spring aimed at creating awareness and even fundraising for allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis.

Take a look, find something in your community and get involved! If you know of another great event, please feel free to add the details in the comment section.

April 16th -22nd - World Allergy Organization - World Allergy Week

April 21st - Anaphylaxis Canada - 5th Annual Community Conference

May 6th - 9th - FAARP & Health Canada - Seventh Workshop on Food Allergen Methodologies

Various Dates - Anaphylaxis Canada - Ask the Allergist
Vancouver, BC - Saturday, March 31st
Barrie, ON - Wednesday, May 9th
Toronto, ON - Thursday, May 24th
* More dates and locations to come

Various Dates - EpiPen TakeAction Event:
Ottawa, ON - Saturday, May 5th
Winnipeg, MB - Saturday May 12th
Brooklin, ON - Saturday, May 12th
Mississauga, ON - Saturday, May 27th
Windsor, ON - Saturday, May 26th
Vancouver, BC - TBA

Monday, March 19, 2012

Act Like It's the First Time, Every Time

Don't Get Comfortable With Food Allergies

I travel to Toronto and Ottawa frequently. Luckily, I have great family and friends to stay with. They understand my allergies which means that for the most part, I have safe environments in which to stay. It's hard not appreciate that. It's also hard not to take that for granted and become complacent. During my most recent trip, I was reminded of the importance of never being too comfortable with any environment.

First, I accepted a set of sheets which I knew had been exposed to a cat. It was over six months ago and the set of sheets had been washed numerous times since, but I know the science. Dander does not easily wash out. For anyone with a serious allergy, once fabric has been exposed to cat dander, it's best to toss it. However, I didn't heed my own advice and it resulted in a pretty nasty rash on my face and neck.

Second, I was looking for a late-night snack and thought a few crackers would do nicely. So, I entered a well-stocked pantry and pulled out the familiar yellow Triscuit box. I actually opened the box and then wondered what on earth I was doing. I always check labels. The first time I buy something, the fiftieth time I buy the same thing and sometimes even at home before I eat it. So, I read the ingredients and found that there was milk. I was a bit shocked and looked at the front of the box. Parmesan-flavoured Triscuits...I didn't know they had such a thing. But, they do. I put the box back and washed my hands, just in case.

Third, I was prepared to make myself a lovely sandwich a couple of days ago. The bread on the counter looked exactly like the bread my friend and I had purchased during my last visit. I took out a slice of bread and then remembering the "Triscuit episode" I checked the ingredients, which once again contained milk. I still don't know what the difference is between that bread and the earlier one we'd purchased, but there was clearly an important one.

The lesson here is obvious - always check and always ask. The danger of getting too comfortable is obvious. Even when it's a restaurant you've been to a dozen times or a dish you've ordered that has always been safe, treat it like it's your first time, every time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Absences Make the Heart Grow Fonder

I aim to post two blog posts a month. When there's a holiday or a current issue, that number can easily go up. Sadly, I was felled by a nasty cold. At least I didn't get the flu, thanks to the flu shot.

So, I am back in blog posting mode and I do have some great ones I'm working on regarding the upcoming allergen labelling laws in Canada, atopic conditions and allergies in First Nations and aboriginal communities and the impact of climate change on allergies. This past so-called winter has certainly made me think about the last two.

To prove I haven't been entirely delinquent, I have a guest post for The Eczema Company to be released shortly as well as an article in The Eczema Society of Canada's Spring newsletter. If you have anything you'd like me to address, certainly let me know. I love hearing about ideas.

Happy Almost Spring!