Apr
30
2015

Asthma Relief: "Ryan's Law" Passes in Wake of Child's Death

Asthmatic Students Now Protected

Asthma Relief: "Ryan's Law" Passes in Wake of Child's Death

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In 2012, 12 year-old Ryan Gibbons died of an asthma attack while at his Ontario school. His rescue inhaler was in the school's office - too far to save his life. Ryan's mother Sandra Gibbons made it her mission to make sure this tragedy happened to no other students by starting a petition asking the government to force schools to create asthma management plans that would include allowing them to carry their needed inhalers on them.

RELATED: When is a Cough Not Just a Cough?

Ryan's Law has passed, mandating that all schools have effective asthma management plans that allow students to carry their life-saving medications on them at all times.

Asthma plans will also include (taken from the Law itself):

1. Strategies that reduce the risk of exposure to asthma triggers in classrooms and common school areas and during field trips.


2. A communication plan for the dissemination of information on asthma to parents, pupils and employees.


3. Regular training on recognizing and managing asthma for all employees and others who are in direct contact with pupils on a regular basis.


4. A requirement that every school principal develop and individual plan for each pupil who has asthma (with input from the child's physician).


5. A requirement that every school permit a pupil to carry his or her asthma medication if the pupil has his or her parents' or guardians' permission and his or her physicians's approval to do so.


6. A requirement that every school principal ensure that, upon registration, parents, guardians and pupils shall be asked to supply information about asthma, including whether a pupil has his or her parents' or guardians' permission and his or her physician's approval to carry asthma medication.


7. A requirement that every school principal maintain a file of current treatment and other information for each pupil with asthma, including a copy of any notes and instructions from the pupil's physician and a current emergency contact list.

This is amazing news! So much safer for students with asthma - there is no use in having emergency medications unavailable during emergencies. With a newly diagnosed asthmatic child, this makes me feel a lot better. Other provinces vary in their regulations of where inhalers are kept.

Now, we need to work on getting each school to allow students to wear emergency epinephrine auto-injectors, too. 

Apr
29
2015

Peanuts Now Banned at Some Major League Ballgames

Keeping Allergic Fans Safe & Building Awareness

Peanuts Now Banned at Some Major League Ballgames

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Take me out to the ballgame, but hold the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. At the Indians home opener at Victory Field, fans won't be able to buy or bring any peanut products into the stadium.  "We've received calls from fans over the years about not being able to come to the ballpark due to peanut allergy," says Indians senior marketing and communications manager Jon Glesing. "Awareness for this is far from new in baseball," he adds. And that's true.

RELATED: Books About Severe Food Allergies For Kids of All Ages

Here in Toronto, the Blue Jays offer a "nut-reduced" zone for a few games each season, a relief to those suffering from life-threatening peanut and nut allergies. There are a number of stadiums offering peanut-free games. For more information, visit Free to Enjoy Baseball.

Peanut- and nut-free game info for the Toronto Blue Jays are as follows:

Toronto Blue Jays Peanut/Nut Reduced Zone game schedule

It's no small feat removing peanuts and nuts from baseball games; the two go hand-in-hand, and many fans will surely voice their displeasure at not being able to enjoy the iconic snacks. But anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and kill within minutes. And while there aren't actually that many deaths from anaphylaxis, certainly the precautions are worthwhile if they save even one life. 

Batter up!

Apr
17
2015

More EpiPens in Public Areas Means Increased Safety

Why All Public Spaces Should Stock EpiPens

More EpiPens in Public Areas Means Increased Safety

More public places are making EpiPens available in case of emergency. This is great news for those at risk of anaphylaxis!

Great news, Canadiens fans! The Montreal Bell Centre has just partnered with Pfizer Canada, Inc., distributors of EpiPens to stock emergency kits around the centre. In an awesome trend that seems to be picking up momentum, more public places are stocking the emergency epinephrine kits to help keep guests safe.

There are an estimated 1.4 million Canadians at risk of anaphylaxis and there's no way to predict how severe allergic reactions may be. In addition, allergic reactions can happen at any time, even to those with no allergic history, so having these EpiPens available is so important. 

RELATED: Even the happiest place on earth provides EpiPens!

It's a no-brainer, really, because while most people who have known food allergies do carry epineprhine auto-injectors, sometimes they're forgotten, or sometimes allergic reactions happen out of the blue. Some of you may think it's crazy. What about the cost? Is it really safe to have them lying around? What are the chances someone would actually need one?

Well, once upon a time, we didn't have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public spaces, either, because come on, who has the indecency to have a heart attack in public, anyhow? Are they really safe? That's a huge cost for such a rare occurrence -- let me stop you there -- AEDs and EpiPens save lives, period. And with subsidies, they're not a burden on anyone financially, and there is exactly no risk of having them available. 

I think it would be smart for restaurants to have to stock them, too, frankly. And I love that more cities are embracing this measure of safety, like Hamilton's decision to have mall guards carry EpiPens. When severe allergic reactions can present so suddenly, and escalate within seconds, having the needed medication on hand is imperative to helping save lives.

I am 100% on board with these initiatives!