"P.O.K.W.A.S.P.A." = Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy Group

"P.O.K.W.A.S.P.A." = Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy Group
Link to our FB page

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jaffe Food Allergy Institute to have 5 different food allergy, peanut allergy related clinical trials open to recruitment's of winter 2014

We are writing to update you on research studies that are currently recruiting at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute. We are excited to have 5 clinical trials open to recruitment, including new ones so CONTACT US SOON!

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING, “REPLY” TO THIS EMAIL EXPLAINING WHICH STUDY/STUDIES YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN.

Depending upon the study, it may take time, up to weeks, to get back to you as we discuss the study with potential participants and screen individuals who may qualify.

NEW STUDY

***MILK SKIN PATCH***
This study is for those with a milk allergy ages 2-17 years. This study has a limited enrollment capacity, please let us know of your interest as soon as possible as explained above and at the close of this email.

STUDIES THAT ARE STILL RECRUITING

***BAKED EGG VERSUS EGG ORAL IMMUNOTHERAPY***
This study is for those with an egg allergy ages 3-16 years old not currently eating egg in baked foods and having egg IgE blood tests over 5.

***PEANUT ORAL IMMUNOTHERAPY***
This study is for children ages 12 months up to 48 months (a 4 year old is not eligible) with a peanut IgE blood tests over 5.

***ISOFLAVONE SUPPLEMENT STUDY***
This study is recruiting adults ages 18-60 years with allergy to peanut, walnut, cashew, codfish, salmon or shrimp.

***PRESTO FORMULA STUDY***
This study is for children under the age of 13 months with a cow’s milk allergy.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THESE STUDIES, please reply to this email, FoodAllergyResearch@mssm.edu. Remember, it may take weeks for us to get back to you as we discuss the study with potential participants, and perform screening tests. Please be patient. There may not be spaces for everyone interested. We will inform you when the study is fully enrolled.

ALSO:

YOU CAN check out our activities on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/MountSinaiJaffeFoodAllergyInstitute

YOU CAN learn about clinical trials by searching “food allergy” at www.clinicaltrials.gov

YOU CAN view our website at: http://icahn.mssm.edu/research/programs/jaffe-food-allergy-institute

YOU CAN support our research by making a donation to the Institute (be sure to designate “JAFFE FOOD ALLERGY INSTITUTE” using drop down box): https://philanthropy.mountsinai.org/jaffe

SINCERELY,

THE TEAM AT THE JAFFE FOOD ALLERGY INSTITUTE

Jaffe Food Allergy Institute
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
(212) 241-2000
foodallergyresearch@mssm.edu

cid:image001.jpg@01CED651.53689160

Monday, November 10, 2014

Uneven Footing, from Eating Peanut, by Caryn Tatelli

Uneven Footing


Susan consumed 1625 mg of peanut this morning
That's 13 carefully measured 1/4 teaspoons of peanut flour, or 6.5 peanuts.
(Incredible. Hopeful, Promising.)

And yet, we are a peanut and tree-nut free household.
(Except for almonds -- Blue Diamond, to be exact.)

And Susan sits at a peanut and tree-nut free lunch table.

And Susan carries two Epi-Pens and an Avi-Q...
and more Benadryl than she will ever need.

We live with strict instructions:
No new foods.
No new restaurants.
Nothing with risk of cross-contamination.
Everything is the same...and yet, is is immeasurably different.
(At least, that is what I think...and hope...)

Where do we begin?



In this new land we can barely comprehend, how do we define what is safe?
How do we redefine the past?
(Do we?)
How do we frame the future?
What do we tell others?

Perhaps my house SHOULD have peanuts.
Perhaps I should eat my beloved mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...
(For what better place to test Susan's tolerance than in our home, on solid ground...with us present...)
But...are we to EAT PEANUT in Susan's presence?
Or perhaps outside?
Over the sink?
Over the garbage can?
(Or...maybe...just maybe, not yet?)

And if I were to...
Do I wash my hands, or not?
Dispose of my toothbrush, or not?
(Or...maybe...just maybe, we're not there yet?)

If I do not know the answers, how will she?
How will others?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Food allergies are not a punchline.



One in 13 kids in the US has a food allergy. Food allergies are serious and can be life-threatening. It requires public awareness to keep children with food allergies safe. Using food allergies (or fatal allergic reactions) as a punchline to jokes in a comedy spreads misinformation, encourages bullying, and puts children’s lives at risk. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beautiful, Sterling Silver Food Allergy / Medical Alert Bracelet


Click here to order!

This work of art is .925% sterling silver, beautiful and perfect for an engraved medic alert bracelet.  A stylish way to let people know your daughter has an allergy and needs meds

~ Gorgeous, also, meaning they not "forget to wear it." :)




Bracelet adjusts to all size wrists and has plenty of room on both sides to fit your child's medical information.

This item is 100% guaranteed to last a lifetime and can be returned anytime if there is a problem.



Great (personal essay) blogpost "Hesitation" re: Administering Epinepherine To a Food Allergic Child

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hesitation




There are a growing number of visual images and sensory memories I carry around with me in my head -- I think of them as "clinical trial snapshots."  And yet, they are so much more than "snapshots."  They are moments in time that are indelibly etched in my mind, in my heart.  While there are a growing number of such moments, there are two that truly stand apart from the others -- and they both involve the administration of an Epi-Pen.

The first one is from the night after Susan's intake food challenge -- the night when she self-administered (not once, but twice), her Epi-Pen while I sat next to her, urging her on, offering to help, to hold her hand, to hold HER.  Susan drew a deep breath before injecting herself with her Epi-Pen the first time, and stabbed the Epi-Pen into her right thigh.  She immediately gasped and pulled it out, way, way too fast for the life-saving medication to enter her blood-stream.  Susan looked at me, realization dawning, and tried to jab the Epi-Pen back into her thigh, but the protective shield prevented her from doing so.  As she looked at me, I looked back at her calmly, hoping my fear and racing heart did not show.  I gave her another Epi-Pen, saying that we had "plenty" and that she could just "do it again." 

By that point, blood was streaming down Susan's leg -- and as she wiped at it with a tissue, I felt fear grabbing at my heart -- I wasn't sure we had time, and I didn't want to take the opportunity from Susan, but, I also did not want our goal of her self-injecting to put her at risk.  I sat next to Susan, watching her -- seeing a mixture of fear, uncertainty and resolve on her beautiful face.  And yet, precious seconds were ticking away...

I took a deep breath and said firmly, "Susan, if you are going to do it, you have to do it NOW."  She looked back at me, uncertainly.  I offered to hold her, to hold her hand, to help her...and she replied, "No, I need to do this myself."  And she did.  Incredibly, she did -- injecting herself, counting slowly, slowly to ten -- and then massaging her thigh.  Perfectly...or so I thought at the time.  

Those wasted precious seconds...as Susan gathered the courage to inject herself not once but twice...could have had a terrible, devastating (unthinkable) result

While I have always understood that time is of the essence when epinephrine is required, I did not really understand that every second counted until relatively recently.  And I feel that the import of those seconds is underscored by another moment in time that is indelibly etched in my memory...and this particular one has been making its way to the forefront of my mind more and more often recently.  

While I wrote about it at the time that it happened, I did not write about itin detail.  I simply wrote, "Susan bravely assisted the doctor in administering an Epi-Pen...and within minutes, she was much better...but exhausted.  We made her stay awake, talking to us, until we were certain the Epi-Pen had truly stopped the reaction."    

(At the time, it seemed like an accurate enough accounting of what happened.)

But, with the passage of time, and reflection juxtaposed against recent media stories about children whose Epi-Pens were available and about parents and/or medical providers who "held off" administering epinephrine in the hope that Benadryl "would do it," I have decided I need to write more fully about what happened in the seconds before Susan assisted the doctor in administering her Epi-Pen.

While Susan and I had talked about the importance of her taking any opportunity that might arise to self-administer her Epi-Pen, I had not reviewed that idea with her the morning of her rapid desensitization to peanut (looking back, I'm not sure why I didn't...but I am glad in some ways of this oversight, because of how things unfolded...)

The day of Susan's first rapid desensitization to peanut was difficult.  She showed mild signs of a reaction early in the dosing process and the symptoms increased and escalated as the doses mounted.  After Susan experienced some blood pressure changes, skin changes (read:  hives), and (eventually) increasing abdominal discomfort, the doctors decided to administer Benadryl intravenously.

As Susan's reaction progressed, she began vomiting with a force and violence that I now associate with food allergies.  At that point, she had had a cumulative total of approximately 180.5 (approximately because while she had consumed a .5 mg dose, a 1 mg dose, a 2 mg dose, a 4 mg dose, an 8 mg dose, a 15 mg dose, a 30 mg dose and a 60 mg dose, she only consumed part of half of the 120 mg dose).

When Susan complained that she was feeling like something was "stuck" in her throat, the doctor moved quickly to pull out the Epi-Pen.  Seeing what was happening, and recognizing the need for epinephrine, I started talking to Susan about self-administering.  Susan agreed to self-administer, and the nurse handed the Epi-Pen to Susan who then...hesitated.  

For a split second.

The doctor urged Susan on and again -- she hesitated...but only for a split second.  Really -- time stood still, and yet even at the time I knew Susan's hesitation to be brief.

With urgency, the doctor said very firmly, "We are going to do it together.  Now."  And so, Susan assisted the doctor in administration of the epinephrine.


As I have reflected on this (again and again and again, as the imagery, the senses, the memory plays relentlessly and without invitation in my mind), I have realized that even though I knew Susan was having a multi-system reaction to the peanut doses, I was not alarmed by her split-second hesitancy.  I felt like we had time.  Let me be clear -- I did not think we had much time, but, I felt like we had (enough) time.

I have come to understand that the doctor did not think we had time.
And I believe she was right.

By the time you see symptoms that clearly indicate your child is in danger, there may not be enough time.
DO NOT hesitate.  If you are even wondering if your child needs epinephrine, administer it.


We hear and read far more about those who hesitated and have lived to regret it than those who administered epinephrine quickly and with confidence.


Every second counts -- even when it seems like time is standing still.
Especially when it seems like time is standing still, for it most certainly is not.

Do not hesitate because your child could not possibly be having an anaphylactic reaction.
Do not hesitate because your child's throat only feels "a little funny."
Do not hesitate because your child has never received epinephrine before.
Do not hesitate because you/your child is afraid the injection will hurt.
Do not hesitate because you do not want to have to go to the ER.
Do not hesitate because you are hoping Benadryl will "do the job."

Do not hesitate for any reason.

Do not hesitate because you fear you have failed your child.  Those of us who are parents of children with life-threatening food allergies spend our lives trying to forge a safe path for our children.  And yet, we make mistakes...and our children develop new allergies (our daughter required epinephrine three times the summer she developed her soy allergy).

Know, as you administer the epinephrine, or support your child as he or she finds their independence -- it is not your fault...if a food is mislabeled or cross-contaminated...or you misread or misunderstood a label...and in the seconds that really count, none of that matters.

If your child is having an anaphylactic reaction, do not worry about the hows and whys behind it -- while it is crucial to try to understand the cause behind every single food allergy reaction, all of that can wait until your child is safe.

I do not think I could live with myself if I sat holding life-saving medication for a second (or two, or three) too long.  That some parents have to live with that knowledge horrifies me, and I am thankful beyond words that many of them have found incredible strength and openly share their stories.


Every second counts -- even when it seems like time is standing still.


-- From Eating Peanut, by Caryn Platt Tatelli

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Betty, Helen, Peggy and the Teal Pumpkin Project:

In the mornings I try to take an old lady aqua-aerobics class for my arthritis joints.



This morning, for the first time in about four years, I shared with my aqua-aerobics group "a public service announcement" about "the Teal Pumpkin Project."





I explained that one to two children out of ten are now severely food allergic and that this pumpkin on your doorstep means that you are a home that is friendly to food allergic trick or treaters. That you can make food allergic kids and parents happy by greeting the kids by saying "Are there any food allergy kids here?

I have something just for you!" and be open and friendly about this and give them dollar store (non-food) treats or if they really, really want to give out candy to make sure to offer known food-allergy safe candies like Smarties or Dum-Dums.



One woman, named "Betty" asked what the two candies were that were safe and I said "The candy at both ends of the intelligence scale: Dum-Dums or Smarties," and they got it. One woman was teared up and crying when I explained why I am so motivated to help other parents after nearly losing my own little girl at 15 mos.

Not one person, not one rolled their eyes or tried to run away. All of them were engaged, caring and truly fascinated about this.. All of them said they had grandkids or friends with kids who had this and they were utterly bewildered how to deal with it.

I stopped answering questions and 45 min. had gone by after our exercise class had ended and hardly any of them had moved on to leave. They all cared and they all had really good questions.

What did I learn? Every single generation has questions about this new phenomena. And that group of women all over 60 (except me LOL) truly cared to learn about this and find out how they could make a difference.



This morning Betty, Helen and Peggy's concern for what my life has been about for the past 15 years, renewed my faith in mankind a quite a bit.

And I thought I should share this.





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So, what happens when a kid practices how to use an Epi Pen with a "Real Epi Pen?" -- Well, read this:




He did whaaaaaaaaat????!!!



This informative update courtesy of Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy Member Mindy Gularte Carpente:
  • "Well, our morning started off...different! Our 15 year old decided to practice injecting his Epipen before getting ready for school. Only problem was, it wasn't the practice pen! After the needle went in and delivered the injection, he panicked as did we. We were able to calm him down and spoke with the doctor. We were told to monitor his pulse and as long as we could keep it under 140, he would be okay and not need to go to the hospital. As it is a short acting medication, the epinephrine would be out of his system in 30-40 minutes. Things we learned from this lesson: 1) the Epipen injection is not a fix to an allergic reaction. It is just to give you an extra 30 minutes to get to the hospital for emergency medical treatment. 2) the injection does not hurt. He was always scared that if we had to use it, it would be painful. 3) the practice pen and actual pen look identical with a quick glance. Just thought I'd share our experience to spread more awareness of Epipens and how they work. Hoping for a much more calm morning tomorrow!"


Just more excellent, useful advice from the trenches of parents of kids who have to live with this awful thing called a life-threatening peanut allergy.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Petition to Support Research to Prevent and Advance Treatment of PEANUT and TREENUT ALLERGIES



Support Research to Prevent and Advance Treatment of PEANUT and TREENUT ALLERGIES

Peanut and Treenut Allergy affects over 3 million Americans and is the most lethal food allergy since it kills more people than any other food allergy.  It is also very difficult to avoid peanut and treenut allergens since they are the most allergenic substances known and are ubiquitous in our society, schools, restaurants and processed foods.  Families of peanut allergic kids go through extreme hardships trying to live a peanut-free life, and this is a cause of great anxiety for all involved everyday at every meal.  It affects a disproportionate amount of children compared to adults, and experts do not know why this occurs.  The life expectancy of a person with peanut allergy is markedly reduced compared to an average American living today, estimated to be only about 40 years.  Medical costs of hospitalizations, multiple prescriptions of Epipen yearly, and the unthinkable-fatality- would be reduced if we knew how to prevent this condition.  Peanut allergy was unheard of 100 years ago.  Not enough is being done to prevent peanut allergy from developing in our young children, nor finding the etiology for the peanut allergy epidemic, nor discovering a cure. Oral immunotherapy is available in research settings only, yet initial results of clinical trials have shown great success.  Unfortunately, it has not been approved by the FDA for the general population. Please consider the extreme hardship and risk that peanut allergy sufferers go through and do more to find ways to prevent and cure peanut and treenut allergy.  All the millions of peanut allergy patients deserve access to life-saving immunotherapy.  Your support towards finding prevention strategies and approving immunotherapy for everyone who would benefit from it would have positive consequences for millions of people.  Thank you.

To:
James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration
Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director, National Institutes of Health
Richard Kronick, Director, Agency of Healthcare Research
James T. Li, MD, PhD, FAAAAI, President, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI, President-Elect, AAAAI
Michael B. Foggs, MD, President, American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology
Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, President-Elect, American Academy of Pediatrics
Tom Frieden, MD, MPH (Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ileana Arias, PhD, Deputy Director, CDC 
Support Research to Prevent and Advance Treatment of PEANUT and TREENUT ALLERGIES
Sincerely,
[Your name]

Friday, October 10, 2014

Early Skin Exposure May Cause Peanut Allergies In Children

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Teen survey for school regarding peanut allergies: She'll present her results at teen FARE summit.

Elisabeth, a teen who recently found out she has nut allergies, decided to research the social impacts of having dietary restrictions like nut allergies on high school students. She created a survey in order to evaluate these social impacts and she asks our help in circulating it to gain a broad response.

Elisabeth's survey is done through the Science Research Program in her school in Westchester, New York, and it is both online and completely anonymous. In that program once the student collects enough data, then they find results and present these at science fairs in their area. Elisabeth is also presenting at the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Teen Summit in November, which is for those with dietary restrictions/food allergies, and is located in Washington D.C. 

Here's the link to the survey:

First in a series called "Wonderful Rants By POKWASPA" -- This one is by member, G. Liz Flecha.

First is a first for me!  I've never reposted a member's personal post on our fellow blog, but today's creative gem just begs to be reposted and offered more of a spotlight.

We all applaud G. Liz Flecha's creativity and superb articulation regarding how it feels walking in our shoes. So, with her permission, I'd like her piece to be the first "re-post on our blog" in a series called:


"Wonderful Rants By POKWASPA




-- This one by POKWASPA member, G. Liz Flecha.

Posted today, October 9th, 2014 





---  "If you know me at all, you know I'm not terribly politically correct. Ahem. If you've hosted my daughter on a playdate or babysat her, you know that I am not terribly psychotic about her peanut allergy.

 This isn't my inner mama lioness coming out, honest. But here is the deal - Some kids are really, really deathly allergic to peanuts. And when you start a tirade in the name of a child being able to eat peanut butter wherever she damn well pleases, do you realize how dumb you sound? 

Do you realize how idiotic it is to get red in the face, screaming "It wasn't this way in the 70s! My kid loves peanut butter! I have a picky eater I can't control, a 5 year old who is somehow able to command that I feed him PBJ every day! Your child can't infringe upon my right not to diversify my kid's diet! I don't want my kid to be empathetic! You're just paranoid!" 

But I have decided that maybe, just maybe, these folks just don't really understand. So if you are one of these people, take a deep breath and let's walk together... First of all, I get it. I love peanut butter. I really do. I have been known to empty half a jar on a soft tortilla and eat it for lunch. 

The feeling I have for peanut butter rivals chocolate and coffee. I recognize that it is both a treat and a protein, that rare mix of fairly awesome, room temp servable foods you can pack in lunch box. But here's the thing about peanut butter - it gets on everything. 

Your lunch box, your face, your fingers, the table... We're not talking celery here, we're talking mess of spaghetti-like proportions. I don't think it's fair to call it political correctness run amok to say that a peanut allergic child is fairly likely to get that mess on themselves. 

Yes, you can educate the crap out of a five year old about protecting themselves, but if you are a kindergartener and your best friend grabs your hand with her gooey one to run on the playground, chances are you didn't ask her to wash first. 

So we can go ahead and say that it's not political correctness, okay? We had Maria tested at one year old. That means, before she knew not to stick LEGOS in her nose, we had to start teaching her to avoid certain candy, that she couldn't share food with friends but was expected to share everything else. 

That she had to ask adults if there were nuts in the snack they were serving while simultaneously teaching her how to politely say she didn't like the yogurt they were offering. I'm not trying to say that peanut allergic parents have a harder job than non-allergic parents - we all have our struggles in these arenas - I'm just asking for a little empathy. 

Which brings us to perhaps the crux of the "My kid is eating what she wants, screw you" argument. Try to think of an allergy as a disability, if you will. 

Would you be okay with your child telling someone in wheelchair to buck up and get walking? Mocking someone's speech impediment? 


Because you are effectively teaching your child that 1) my child's needs are less important than his wants or 2) my child is a liar. Which brings me to perhaps the most enraging undertone of the whole anti-peanut allergy trollfest. 

Every time you say "We didn't have allergies growing up" or "How does a person even know a 2 year old has peanut allergies, they aren't even eating peanuts!" that's what you are saying. You are saying that I (or my child) made this up. 

Yep. That I just woke up one day and said, "How can I mess up everyone's school snack schedule this year? Oh I know! Let's tell everyone Maria has an 'allergy'. That would be hilarious!" 

If you are one of those people, Let me assure you, if I was going to make something up about my kids, it wouldn't be an allergy. Genius level IQs? Modeling contracts? 

Yeah, I'd say those things. I'd even say that they tandem surfed on the back of shark while juggling chainsaws and reciting the Declaration of Independence. 

Don't insult both my integrity and my creativity by implying that "allergy" is the best I could do. If you read all of this, thank you. 

If it changed the way you thought, bless you. 



And if you still think peanut allergies are a joke, unfriend me. My family doesn't need your kind in our lives.

    --- by POKWASPA (Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy) FB group member, G. Liz Flecha

_______________________________________________
Well done, G. Liz Flecha!  Great post.

Keep them coming!

--- Louise Larsen, founder/director POKWASPA

POKWASPA Visual Lesson Plan: Why we are so terrified of your lack of tolerance and understanding about peanuts.


Just found this little image / message -- and felt the need to respond.




Uh, actually WE care about our children's allergies, because, unlike the person who created the above visual message, we care about all children.

And, NO, you do not have the right to endanger any child's life.  Period.

You just don't.

Perhaps you are a "Visual Learner" so let me make my point with images --

Here's why we at POKWASPA are literally terrified of your snacks, treats, lunches, meals -- of your kid's unwashed hands and face, of your pets, of school classrooms, playgrounds, parks, public transportation, everywhere outside of our home --

Because the stuff that can kill my kid, and thousands of others just like her is found --

EVERYWHERE, THAT'S WHY.

THAT THING THAT WILL KILL OUR KIDS IS --

Peanut Products.

And it is found --- EVERYWHERE.

It is found....

--  On their hands.




--  On their faces.





--  On YOUR face



--  In your wholesome, delicious child-tempting foods.





--  In your hamburgers.


-- On your dogs.


-- In school science projects, and art projects...



So, the truth is -- we really need you help and cooperation to keep our kids alive and I'm hoping you are not so callous that you can't appreciate why this is so important to us.

Because what can and will kill our children is what you just don't want to stop eating.  But, we are literally begging you to evolve, please, and make changes that will keep kids from dying a needlessly tragic death.  All because some people feel they have a right to kill children over a snack food.

We are asking you to please keep your peanut products far away from those who will die from contact with it.  That's all.  Is this so hard to do?  Really?



We would do the same of you if you asked us to.

If it takes a village to raise one child, what does it take to raise thousands of deathly food allergic kids? 

It takes a GLOBAL village.  YOU are part of OUR global village.  We all live here on planet Earth, and right this second you and I are connected by the internet.  You are part of our global village, and I'm asking, I'm begging you to please, please, adapt your needs to fit the "new normal" regarding food allergies, which is that for some reason we can't even help, our children are dying from contact from your food.

So please, won't you adapt and make some small changes to help us raise our children and keep them alive?

Thank you so much for listening.   -- POKWASPA.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pfizer Canada and WestJet Make Travel Easier for Canadians with Severe Food Allergies / Epi Pen maker creates Social Media Contest offering those anaphylactic to foods the chance to win trip for four!!!

PR Newswire



Pfizer Canada and WestJet Make Travel Easier for Canadians with Severe Food Allergies

'Reach for the Sky' contest aims to increase awareness on a growing public health issue in Canada
KIRKLAND, QCSept. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Serious allergies are on the rise and to raise awareness of anaphylaxis,  Pfizer Canada, Canadian distributor of EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors, and WestJet are launching a social media contest called Reach for the Sky, offering Canadians with severe food allergies, or those at risk of anaphylaxis, the chance to win a WestJet Vacations package for four.  
"Pfizer Canada in partnership with WestJet is committed to making travel and travel planning as worry-free as possible for those WestJet guests who are among the 2.5 million Canadians who self-reported having at least one food allergy," said Allen Van Der Wee, General Manager, Global Established Products Business Unit at Pfizer Canada Inc. "Anaphylaxis is a serious health concern, especially when travelling. We are proud of our continued partnership with WestJet, an organization that embraces the culture of care and understands the serious medical issues involved with severe allergies. We support their efforts in being prepared to help guests should the need arise."
Food-induced anaphylaxis is reported to have increased 350 per cent in the last decade.In addition, severe food allergies among children in the US have increased from an average of 3.4 per cent during 1991 to 1999 to 5.1 per cent during the years of 2009 to 2011, according to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2
WestJet has long taken measures to accommodate their guests while maintaining a balanced experience for all other guests with food allergies. WestJet carriers are equipped with EpiPen®and EpiPen® Jr Auto-Injectors, trusted by Canadians and their health care providers for more than 25 years. That said, travelers at risk of severe allergic reactions are ultimately responsible for taking all the necessary precautions, including carrying their own epinephrine auto-injector(s) at all times.
"We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously and we are pleased to be working with Pfizer Canada and offer EpiPen® to help provide additional support and raise awareness for people at risk of severe allergic reactions," said Lorne Mackenzie, Director, Regulatory Affairs at WestJet.
For more information about WestJet's Allergy Policy, please visit www.westjet.com.
Reach for the Sky Photo ContestTo enter, eligible participants must visit the EpiPen® Canada Facebook page and submit an inspirational photograph along with a caption explaining how living with severe allergies does not restrict them or their child from going after their dreams. The national launch of the voting period will occur in October for the public to decide their favourite entry out of the top 20. For more details on the Reach for the Sky contest or to enter the contest, visit the EpiPen® Canada Facebook page.  
*Should you be carrying an EpiPen® Auto-Injector? Take the Severe Allergy Risk Test to help determine your risk of a severe allergic reaction and visit www.EpiPen.ca for more information.
About PfizerPfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Pfizer's diversified health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines for humans, and many of the world's best‐known consumer products. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or you can follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/PfizerCA) or Facebook (facebook.com/ Pfizer.Canada).
Important Safety InformationEpiPen and EpiPen Jr (0.3 and 0.15 mg epinephrine) Auto-injectors ("EpiPen") are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic reactions in patients who are determined to be at increased risk for anaphylaxis, including individuals with a history of anaphylactic reactions. The EpiPen Auto-Injector is a disposable, pre-filled automatic injection device that administers epinephrine in the event of a severe allergic reaction.  After using EpiPen, you must seek immediate medical attention or go to the emergency room. For the next 48 hours, you must stay close to a healthcare facility or be able to call 9-1-1. For more information about EpiPen, please visit www.EpiPen.ca.
About WestJetWe are proud to be Canada's most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers.  We offer scheduled service to more than 85 destinations in North AmericaCentral America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries.  Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more.  Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales.  For more information about everything WestJet, please visit www.westjet.com. More information about WestJet's allergy policy can be found on www.westjet.com in the Travel Essentials section under Guests with Special Needs.
EpiPen®, EpiPen® Jr are registered trademarks of Mylan, Inc. licensed exclusively to its wholly-owned affiliate, Mylan Specialty, L.P.; sub-licensee, Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, Quebec H9J 2M5.
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1 Ben-Shoshan,et al. A population-based study on peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, and sesame allergy prevalence in CanadaJournal of Allergy Clinical Immunology 2010 Vol. 125 Issue 6:1327-1335 June 2010 Available at: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/epidemiology/joseph/publications/medical/benshoshan2010.pdf[Accessed September 4, 2014].
2 Food Allergy Research and Education. Available at: http://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats[Accessed September 4, 2014].