The Ultimate Guidebook for Teens
Written by a team of youth with food allergies from our Youth Advisory Panel (YAP), The Ultimate Guidebook for Teens with Food Allergies provides first-hand information on living with severe food allergies while leading a normal teenage life. It provides real-life stories and the emotional impact that food allergies can have on a teen.
It features 21 chapters and illustrations covering everything from food allergies and dating, dining out, and travelling, to emotional aspects such as frustration, anxiety and being confident with allergies.
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“This guidebook is an excellent resource for children with food allergies. It contains facts, opinions, tips and real examples that are very useful for anyone will food allergies.”Andrew, teen with food allergy
“As a parent of two children with severe peanuts/nuts allergies, I find this guidebook an excellent summary addressing all aspects of challenges associated with food allergies. It is very helpful for those with food allergies, their parents/caregivers and anyone who just want to learn more on this topic. I like how the facts are presented upfront to educate readers about the epidemiology, current research and social stigma associated with this condition. All information is consistent with my readings and what was shared by my sons’ allergist. In terms of treatments, it is good for my son to know that he is not alone in terms of having a ‘fear of needle’ and it makes sense to carry more than one needle in his fanny pack just in case there is a ‘biphasic’ reaction. The chapters in Section B “situations” are particularly relevant as we learn about how individuals manage different situations leading to different outcomes. I like how there is always a “summary tips” section at the end of each chapter. It is great to read about the experiences and lessons-learnt from members of the Food Allergy Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel. They will better prepare the readers to address challenges in expected and unexpected scenarios.”Aileen, parent of children with food allergies
Food Allergy Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) is a great way for youth ages 13-24 to share experiences about living with severe allergies and to learn from others.
As a member of our Youth Advisory Panel (YAP), you can help us create resources for teens by sharing your firsthand experiences, knowledge, and allergy management strategies.
You could be eligible to win one of two awards of $1,000 each. This award is for Canadian post-secondary students who have actively raised awareness and educated others on food allergy and anaphylaxis.
This award is dedicated to the life of Sabrina Shannon, an inspiring teenager who suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction in 2003. Since her passing, Sabrina’s parents and other members of the allergy community have kept Sabrina’s spirit alive by advocating for safer schools and communities across Canada.
This program allows 12-15 year olds with food allergy to connect with peers and learn strategies for managing food allergy more independently.
Past participants have provided outstanding feedback, noting how this free program has increased their confidence.
Videos for teens
The following videos were created by a group of first-year pharmacy students from the University of Montreal. They conducted research on the risks teens with food allergies take, and the positive and negative experiences they have faced.
Each video contains a scene that many teens with allergies can relate to. It then presents a “bad idea” and “good idea” scenario on how to manage each situation.
Note: the videos are in French with English subtitles.
Video 1 – Food allergies on a date
Dating with food allergies can be stressful. However, with some precautions and open, honest discussions with your partner, it is manageable. While anaphylaxis from kissing is rarely reported, traces of allergens can remain in the mouth and can trigger a reaction even hours after ingestion.
- Tell your partner about your allergies sooner rather than later.
- Someone who doesn’t take your allergies seriously isn’t worth your time.
- Be aware that kissing can be an issue if your date has recently eaten your allergen.
Video 2 – Food allergies at the restaurant
Dining out with food allergies can be done safely by being informed and communicating your needs.
- Plan ahead by either calling the restaurant or looking on their website for allergy information.
- Tell the wait staff about your allergies and ask for safe food options.
- Be sure that the people you’re eating with know that you have allergies and where you keep your auto-injector.
Video 3 – Food allergies during outdoor activities
Living with food allergies means being prepared and staying safe at home and away. Ensure that you are prepared to respond to an emergency by always having your auto-injector accessible.
- Keep your auto-injector on you (backpack, purse or pocket).
- Ensure friends know where you keep your auto-injector so they can help you in case of a reaction.
- Epinephrine can be damaged by heat and cold so keep your auto-injector at room temperature.
Video 4 – Food allergies and cross-contamination
Cross-contamination can happen when a small amount of a food allergen gets into another food accidentally, or when it is present in saliva, on a surface or on an object. This small amount of an allergen could cause an allergic reaction. It’s important to recognize how it happens, and how to avoid it.
- Do not share food, utensils, or drinks.
- Communicate your food allergies to friends and teammates.
- Always have your auto-injector with you during sports and activities.
Medical content of these videos reviewed by: Dr. Marie-Noël Primeau, MD, FRCPC
Video: Real allergic reaction stories from youth
Knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction is important, so that you can give life-saving treatment (epinephrine) early.
In this video, you’ll learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, the importance of using your epinephrine auto-injector, and hear empowering reaction stories from youth and their lessons learned.
Video: Managing food allergy in the workplace
Agnes is a 24-year-old graduate student and health policy researcher living with food allergies to peanuts. In this video, she provides tips for managing food allergies in the workplace as well as educating coworkers. Made in collaboration with EpiPen Canada.