An estimated 2.5 million Canadians suffer from at least one allergy. The incidence is highest among young children (under 3 years of age) with close to 6-8% affected by food allergies. Some of these may be mild, such as hayfever, and some may be more serious, putting people at risk of severe allergic reactions, like anaphylactic shock. Most people with allergies know exactly how to avoid their triggers, and when in a controlled environment like the home, can ensure their home is allergy-free. However, at work, most people have far less control over things like the ventilation system, the location of a workstation, the temperature and humidity, foods other staff/students bring in to work, perfumes, body spray and even materials used on the job.
You may have co-workers, student or parents who have no experience with allergies. Work with your supervisor/teacher to help find ways to minimize your risk while at work or at school. Here are some guidelines for making your workplace/classroom allergy aware.
- Wear medical jewelry, such as a MedicAlert®.
- Have an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan and share it with your supervisor or teacher.
- Teach your co-workers, friends or classmates how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to use an epinephrine auto-injector properly.
- Be open about your allergies. It’s important that people know, and it can be helpful in raising awareness for other employees with food allergies.
- When events are being planned, get involved. As a planner, you can help to ensure the event is allergy aware.
- Know your allies, and work together to raise awareness.
Please see the related links to the right for allergy awareness posters for your worksite.
- Food Allergy Canada Website - Allergy Safety While At School
- Food Allergy Research & Education - Managing Food Allergies at School
- CDC - Food Allergies in Schools