Food Allergy Awareness Month continues with launch of online training course for parents and caregivers

TORONTO, ON – May 10, 2016 – Food Allergy Canada (formerly Anaphylaxis Canada) is building on the success of its online anaphylaxis training program with the launch of Anaphylaxis in the Community: What Parents and Others Need to Know. This free, medically-reviewed resource is especially designed for people with potentially life-threatening allergies and those who care for them. Available in English and French, the launch of this interactive tool is timed with the celebration of Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada.

Developed with Leap Learning Technologies Inc. and in collaboration with the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Anaphylaxis in the Community is compatible with mobile devices – it can be viewed on an iPad or other mobile device (e.g. tablets, smartphones) as well as a desktop or laptop computer, and is available at allergyaware.ca.

“We are excited to share this resource with the wider community, with a view to reaching more Canadians who can help respond in emergency situations,” said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada. “Knowledge about anaphylaxis management will help people minimize the potential for allergic reactions and respond appropriately with treatment.”

For a growing number of Canadians, safely managing allergies is part of their daily life. Food allergy is the leading cause of potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions among children, and is an important public health concern. According to a recent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, there were approximately 170,000 allergy-related emergency department visits in 2013-2014, and the visits for anaphylaxis have nearly doubled in 7 years.* There is no way of predicting how severe an allergic reaction may be, and to date there is no known cure for food allergy, making avoidance of allergens the only means of staying safe. In addition to food, there are allergen risks from medication as well as insect stings, which become especially important during the warmer months.

Similar to the popular Anaphylaxis in Schools course, this new tool for the broader community focuses on the prevention, recognition, and management of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis in the Community uses best practices in instructional design and multimedia learning, and incorporates graphics, video animations and audio, mini-case studies, practice scenarios, and step-by-step visual guides. Users can review material, complete a short quiz, and print a personalized certificate of completion.

The Association of Allergists and Immunologists of Quebec reviewed the French language content; and research and evaluation assistance was provided by AllerGen NCE (Allergy, Genes and Environment Network) Inc. and the Division of e-Learning Innovation at McMaster University. Funding and other support was provided by provincial and territorial governments, private donors, and premier founding sponsor, TELUS.

Food Allergy Canada is also announcing the “Allergy Aware Champions” contest for those completing the Anaphylaxis in the Community course. The contest runs through to June 30, 2016 and one lucky person will win an iPad Pro 9.7″ 32GB with Wi-Fi. Additional information is available at foodallergycanada.ca and allergyaware.ca. The Allergy Aware website also includes resources and information to help people better understand and manage life-threatening allergies.

“Like many parents of children with food allergy, we rely on the support of family and friends, teachers, coaches, and other caregivers to help our kids avoid allergic reactions and keep them safe,” said Bruce Croxon, father of two children with food allergy, and a former resident dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. “This interactive course offers best practices for food allergy and anaphylaxis management. I believe it will be of enormous benefit to the wider community and will help save lives.”

“Thanks to the support of our public sector partners, private donors, and premier founding sponsor, TELUS, Food Allergy Canada is able to extend this interactive learning course for free to millions of Canadians across the country,” said Harada.

* Canadian Institute for Health Information, Anaphylaxis and Allergy in the Emergency Department, 2015.
The time period of the emergency department visits for anaphylaxis covered 2007-2008 to 2013-2014.

About Food Allergy Canada (formerly Anaphylaxis Canada)
Food Allergy Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians with food allergies and those who care for them. The organization is committed to creating a safer world for people with potentially life-threatening allergies through education, advocacy, and research. The organization’s approach to reducing the risk of allergic reactions in both children and adults is focused on self-management, community engagement, understanding, and respect. For more information, please visit www.foodallergycanada.ca.

For more information please contact:

Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting for Food Allergy Canada
416-996-0767
christopherholcroft@hotmail.ca