August 23rd, 2017

Study shows fewer than half of children with severe allergies receive life-saving epinephrine

Reminder: Check expiration dates and replace expired epinephrine auto-injectors before children head back to school

When children with life threating allergies experience anaphylaxis, parents, teachers and other caregivers often fail to administer epinephrine, according to a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in July. The study showed that less than 40 per cent of kids — even those who had previously experienced anaphylaxis and been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector — received a dose of the drug before they got to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic after experiencing a reaction.

London Drugs Pharmacy Manager, Gianni Del Negro says that the research suggests a need for more anaphylaxis education and awareness.

“While awareness in schools about allergies has grown in recent years, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to using auto-injectors such as the EpiPen. It is critical for anyone working with school-age children to be able to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and understand how to use auto-injectors,” he says.

Within minutes, an allergic reaction can turn into a life-threatening situation. Using epinephrine immediately after exposure to an allergy trigger can help reverse the symptoms.

“Reaction times and symptoms are different for each child and there is no way to predict the severity of a reaction because the signs may not be the same for each occurrence. If a child has a known risk for anaphylaxis and caregivers suspect they may be experiencing a reaction, it is better to administer an injection rather than wait for paramedics or emergency care,” says Del Negro.

Since the effects of epinephrine can wear off and children can have subsequent allergic reactions, caregivers are advised to call 911 or take the child to the emergency room immediately after using an auto-injector.

He suggests that parents of children with severe allergies work with teachers and caregivers at the start of each school year to create an action plan with an explanation of the child’s allergy triggers, what to do in case of reaction, where they have access to epinephrine and how to administer emergency anaphylactic treatment.

The start of a new school year is an important time to check expiration dates since epinephrine auto-injectors expire. Expired products can be properly disposed of at any London Drugs location and pharmacists are available to counsel patients on how to properly administer them. Prescriptions are not required for epinephrine auto-injectors; however, some insurance plans cover them if the patient has a prescription.

 Signs and symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction may include:

  • Hives
  • Nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Seizures


August 19th, 2015

Anaphylaxis Preparedness: Making the Classroom Safe for the 300,000 Canadian Children With Allergies


Teachers, parents and caregivers still need broadened awareness of emergent anaphylactic treatment required for school-age children with severe allergies, say pharmacists.

Understanding how to administer epinephrine in an emergency is just as important as other lifesaving skills like CPR or the Heimlich maneuver,” says London Drugs Pharmacist, Jason Chan-Remillard. “While awareness in schools about allergies has grown in recent years, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to emergent anaphylactic treatment.”

For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place. Teachers, parents and caregivers must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and know how to initiate treatment.


September 23rd, 2014

Allergies and School Lunches

Pharmacy Operations Manager Chris Chiew, on Shaw TV’s Go! Calgary, talks about Anaphylaxis preparedness for back-to-school.

September 12th, 2014

Back to School Anaphylaxis Preparedness

allerject300,000 Canadian children with allergies prepare for back to school

Back to school can be a stressful time of year for the parents of nearly 300,000 Canadian children under the age of 18, who suffer from food allergies. For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place without the right preventative measures.

Awareness about food allergies has grown substantially as of late, thanks to the help of spokespeople like NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani, who recently added a ‘peanut free zone’ sign to his race car. The logo was designed by two Alberta students as part of an Anaphylaxis Canada contest raising awareness for ‘Treating Allergies with Genuine Care’.


May 26th, 2014

Allergy update


It’s that time of year again—when itchy eyes and a runny nose remind hundreds of thousands of allergy sufferers that spring is in the air and the pollen count rising. The proper name for these uncomfortable symptoms is seasonal allergic rhinitis, but they are more commonly referred to as “hay fever.”

May 16th, 2014

Allergy season is here

It is official. Allergy season has arrived, and many experts say that this year’s symptoms are worse than previous as many provinces are now awakening from a long and colder winter. Below are two clips featuring Anil G., our West Edmonton Mall London Drugs pharmacy manager, who speaks about some possible treatment options.

To learn how you can help lessen the effects of allergies, click here.

Video courtesy: CTV News Edmonton

Video courtesy: Global News Edmonton

April 1st, 2014

Spring time and allergies

woman-sneezingNow that spring has sprung, so have allergies.

A recent News1130 article says, itchy eyes and a scratchy throat are the issues many people are dealing with during this first week of spring, and it’s all thanks to seasonal allergies.

“It seems that ever year gets progressively longer and worse for allergies; this year, it seems to be starting sooner than I can remember,” says pharmacist Pindy Janda with London Drugs. “We’ve actually seen an increase in prescription drugs for allergies as early as mid-February,” she adds.

Janda tells us many people mistakenly think they are fighting yet another cold.

“We’re still in that transition period between winter and spring. We don’t have conventional weather, per se… we do get a confusion between the two. Our job as a pharmacist is to talk through the symptoms with the patients and see how long they’ve had them.”

If you are not sure of what you are dealing with, it’s probably a good idea to visit a doctor or pharmacist, who may go over your medical history.

“We usually do recommend an antihistimine because that usually covers most of the symptoms. It’s usually once-a-day dosing and it’s non-drowsy. But we will ask them… what they’ve used in the past because some patients will build up tolerance to the one they have been using,” says Janda.

If you think you may be suffering from seasonal allergies, speak with your doctor or London Drugs pharmacist.


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