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Raising Awareness for Anaphylaxis

The families of the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative thank MP Dean Allison (photo taken at Mr. Allison’s Beamsville office).

Anaphylaxis was debated again in Parliament on May 8, 2013.  MP Dean Allison, who is sponsoring a motion to raise awareness of anaphylaxis, spoke about the motives behind his Motion-230.

       On the first day of discussion in the House, I referred to the stories of Lucas, Liam and David. Their daily struggles with anaphylaxis and the fear of reaction can be reduced. Motion No. 230 aims for this goal. By bringing more attention and awareness to the Canadian public, this motion will help these children and many other Canadians who live with this condition. It will help Canadians understand the signs, dangers and consequences of an anaphylactic reaction.

       Although these considerable steps have been taken, more can be done. Businesses and governments should do more to help those who live with the condition. More specifically, Parliament should recognize that anaphylaxis is a serious condition and create the necessary awareness to help those living with anaphylaxis have a higher quality of life.

       Preventive measures should be taken by everyday Canadians in order to ensure the safety of those around them, especially those at risk of having an anaphylactic reaction. Understanding the condition and which allergens could cause reactions could lead to a reduction of incidents and more peace of mind for Canadians living with severe life-threatening allergies. With the passing of Motion No. 230, Canadians living with anaphylaxis will receive much needed recognition from our government. We stand with them in their efforts to promote awareness of the condition.

Mississauga MP Brad Butt spoke to the statistics in Canada, that demonstrate the magnitude of anaphylaxis and the importance of bringing it to national attention.

  • It is estimated that 2.5 million Canadians live with anaphylaxis and the number continues to rise every year.
  • 3,500 Canadians experience anaphylactic shock each year from eating the wrong foods.
  • Of those 3,500, about a dozen will die unfortunately.
  • One in two Canadians know someone with a serious food allergy. Alarmingly, it is most prevalent in young children, specifically those under three years of age.
  • Close to 6% of children below the age of three, and 300,000 youth under 18 are affected by general food allergies.
  • The frequency of food allergies has increased 350% from 1996 to 2002.
  • The prevalence of peanut and nut allergies has increased 250% over that time.
  • More than 40% of Canadians examine the ingredient information on food labels, either for themselves or for someone living with anaphylaxis.
  • The most recognized allergy, of course, is the one to peanuts. This allergy affects two out of 100 children in Canada.
  • Even with great vigilance, someone with a nut allergy will have an accidental episode every three to five years.

The Member of Parliament urged his colleagues to support the motion:

 Motion No. 230 is about more awareness so that Canadians will become familiar with the risks of anaphylaxis and will hopefully take precautions to limit accidental exposure for those who may be vulnerable. This, in turn, will create a safer environment for everyone.

       More awareness of this serious medical condition is needed on a nationwide level. That is why I urge members of this House to approve this motion and launch anaphylaxis further onto the national stage. By adopting this motion, the Canadian government would be taking another important step forward in ensuring that Canadians living with anaphylaxis are able to maintain a higher quality of life.

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