Alexandria Durrell: Irritated By Allergies


Allergy Advocates Want Auto-Injectors in Restaurants

Extra Protection for Severe Allergy Sufferers

Hamilton, Ontario could become the first city to require restaurants to have auto-injectors at the ready for emergency purposes. For severe allergy sufferers, anaphylaxis poses a life-threatening risk that can often be prevented with the use of epineprhine auto-injectors like EpiPens. There's no guarantee that an EpiPen will stop a reaction, but it's the first line of defense when contact with an allergen has happened, much like automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for heart attack victims.

Maia Santarelli-Gallo, a twelve-year-old Hamilton girl, died this past spring after a sudden reaction to an ice cream cone. Previously, her allergy had caused only a runny nose, but on this occasion, anaphylaxis occurred and she was without an EpiPen. By the time her sister found someone carrying one, and administered it, it was too late to save Maria's life. In response to this tragedy, Hamilton councillor Lloyd Ferguson has drafted a ground-breaking motion to have auto-injectors at every place that sells food in the city.

This would substantially change the environment for everyone who has food allergies, no matter the severity. Because there is absolutely no way to predict how severe a future reaction may be, an auto-injector is the best insurance we can carry. Now that defibrillators are commonplace in public spaces, it's a logical step to include epinephrine injectors as well, considering the fact that approximately 2.5 million Canadians have at least one food allergy.

Read more about the initiative in this CTV news piece.