Commonly Asked Questions

HOTLINE 416 633 2215

Please help! My child has just been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Where can I get information for myself and her school?

The document “Anaphylaxis in Schools and Other Child Care Settings” is available in both English and French and is a vital source of information for parents, caregivers, and schools dealing with a child with a life threatening allergy such as peanut, nut, fish, shellfish, or insect allergy. It talks about avoidance, identifying the problem, the use of epinephrine, and treatment strategies. As well, there are pamphlets on Food Allergies, Anaphylaxis, and Urticaria and all are available free of charge by calling the ALLERGY HOTLINE at 416 633 2215.

I think I might be allergic to dust or mould because of my symptoms. How can I see an allergy specialist?

In Ontario, patients must be referred by the family doctor (or other physician) to a specialist. Ask your family doctor to refer you to an allergy specialist for further investigation.

I seem to sneeze all year. I thought that hayfever only strikes in the late summer – is it possible to have hayfever all year?

Hayfever or rhinitis refers to an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the nose and it is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting North Americans. Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs during a pollen season and perennial allergic rhinitis occurs year round as a result of exposure to dust mites, mould, or animal dander.

Recently, I ate a meal at a restaurant and subsequently passed out and an ambulance had to be called. The doctor who treated me at the hospital suggested that I see an allergist to determine what promoted this reaction. What signs or symptoms should I watch for? I am very nervous about anything I eat as a result of this episode.

First, ask your family doctor for a referral to an allergist as soon as possible. Keep a diary of all foods eaten and watch for any of the following symptoms – itching skin, coughing, shortness of breath, hives, swelling of the lips, abdominal pain, a drop on blood pressure, convulsions, loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening and it extremely important to find out what has triggered this response.

I have hives and the family doctor tells me they could disappear on their own. I am uncomfortable and wonder what has caused this outbreak.

Hives or urticaria can affect about 20% of the population and acute hives may last from a few hours to less than six weeks, while chronic hives last longer than six weeks. Hives can be an allergic reaction to foods, drugs, insect stings, latex, cold air, suncreens, ultraviolet light or X ray dyes. Viral infections such as a cold, strep throat, mononucleosis, or hepatitis can also cause hives.

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