OTTAWA, Aug. 20, 2014 /CNW/ -
Serious allergic reactions to food often happen without warning and can quickly become life threatening for some children.
What you should know
As many as 1.2 million Canadians have food allergies and this number may be increasing, especially among children. Up to six per cent of children are estimated to have food allergies.
The symptoms of allergic reactions can range from mild skin irritations and hives to breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness. Symptoms can also develop at different rates, sometimes getting worse very quickly. The most dangerous symptoms include breathing difficulties or a drop in blood pressure with shock, which may result in loss of consciousness, or even death.
Although many foods can cause allergic reactions, most allergic reactions in Canada are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, soy, seafood (such as fish, crustaceans and shellfish), wheat, eggs, milk, sulphites and mustard. These ten items are known as "priority allergens".
To date, there is no cure for food allergies. Avoiding the allergen is the only effective way to prevent allergic reactions. This is why it is important that allergic children not be exposed to allergens that regularly cause extreme and sometimes fatal reactions. For this reason, many elementary schools do not allow certain foods in student lunches.
What you should do
Because of the potential seriousness of allergic reactions, many schools have policies in place to stop students from bringing certain items in their lunches. It's very important for you to follow the school's food allergen policy closely, even if your child does not have allergies. Make sure your child is aware that it is not safe to trade or share food with other children, in case they have allergies.
Here are some specific tips to follow if your child does have food allergies:
What about food labels?
To help parents and Canadians with food allergies identify foods that they should avoid, Health Canada has recently updated the rules governing the labelling of priority allergens. Details are available on food allergen labelling on Health Canada's website.
For more information
Stay connected with Health Canada, and receive the latest advisories and product recalls using social media tools.
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|SOURCE Health Canada|
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