New survey reveals the challenges faced by Canadian families living with severe food allergies and anaphylaxis

More than half of parents of allergic children are stressed

Toronto, ON, April 7, 2011 – A new Canadian survey reveals that people living with anaphylaxis are worried, stressed and often limit common activities that are perceived as too risky. Parents with severely allergic kids are losing sleep about ordinary activities that other parents may take for granted: sending their kids to school, eating out at restaurants, traveling, and letting their kids attend summer camp. Activities such as allowing an allergic child to attend a birthday party or a sleepover can cause so much concern that some parents choose to avoid those activities entirely.  Bullying is also a primary concern.   The survey was conducted by the Allergy/Asthma Information Association (

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be life threatening. Food is one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis, but insect stings, medicine, or even exercise can also cause a reaction. It has been estimated that more than one million Canadians are at risk of anaphylaxis.

“Having been the parent of an allergic child, it’s not surprising to me that many parents find it challenging to cope with food allergies and anaphylaxis,” said Mary Allen, chief executive officer of the Allergy/Asthma Information Association (AAIA), a Canadian charity dedicated to supporting the allergic community. “Simple activities like eating, attending school, or traveling on a plane can be very worrisome for parents with allergic children. But, there are many ways to manage allergies and reduce stress levels.”

To help educate Canadians about anaphylaxis and raise important funds for research, the Allergy/Asthma Information Association (AAIA) with the support of the distributors of EpiPen® epinephrine auto-injectors have organized the EpiPen® TAKE ACTION Event during May 2011, which is Allergy Awareness Month.  

EpiPen® TAKE ACTION invites people to walk (or walk/run in some cities) in support of anaphylaxis research and education. The fundraising events will take place in several cities across Canada, including Whitby, Mississauga, Windsor, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Kelowna and Vancouver and the proceeds will go to support anaphylaxis research and education in Canada. The Event hopes to attract people of all ages — children, teens and adults — to unite to support the allergy community. For more information and to register for the event in your community, visit

“Living well with allergies is possible,” said Ruth Roberts, whose food allergic daughter is at risk of anaphylaxis, “but people, especially parents who have young children with anaphylaxis, need support and understanding from the community, educators, childcare providers, relatives and especially other parents.”

EpiPen® TAKE ACTION Event Dates*:

Kelowna – City Park - Saturday May 7 

Ottawa – Ottawa River Parkway Trail at Tunney’s Pasture - Saturday May 7

Whitby – Heydenshore Pavilion, adjacent to Whitby Waterfront Trail - Saturday May 14 

Vancouver – Stanley Park (Ceperley Park by Second Beach) - Saturday May 14

Winnipeg – Assiniboine Park - Saturday May 14

Windsor – Riverfront Trail (Dieppe Gardens) - Saturday May 28

Mississauga – Erindale Park - Sunday May 29

Survey Highlights

  • 92% of parents with children who have food allergies worry about sending their children to school.
  • Parents of children with anaphylaxis worry most that their child might eat something they are allergic to (30%) followed by worrying that teachers/school principals aren’t taking their children’s allergy seriously (28%).
  • 32% of parents say their child has been teased, taunted or bullied about his/her allergy
  • Almost half (46%) of parents of a child with anaphylaxis would never let their child go to summer camp and more than 3 in 10 said they would never let their kid go to a sleepover.
  • Half (49%) of respondents said that allergies have had a negative impact on their quality of life and/or their family’s quality of life.
  • 3 out of 4 respondents (76%) feel that most Canadians don’t understand what anaphylaxis is and 80% believe that most Canadians would not know what to do if someone was having a severe allergic reaction.


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About AAIA

Founded in 1964 by a group of parents with children with severe allergies, the AAIA funds research, and educates and supports patients in both official languages. For more information about the Allergy/Asthma Information Association and its work, visit AAIA is a registered charity. To make a donation to the Allergy/Asthma Information Association, please visit

About the Survey

The online survey was conducted from November 22, 2010 to January 4, 2011 by the Allergy/Asthma Information Association. 208 people completed the survey. 

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Saskia Brussaard
Crave Public Relations

®EpiPen® and EpiPen® Jr are registered trade-marks of Mylan Inc. licensed exclusively to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Dey Pharma, L.P. of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA and under license to King Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.




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