Survey reveals the anaphylaxis concerns of travelling Canadians at risk of severe allergic reactions

Pfizer Canada Inc. and WestJet offer suggestions for a safer and less stressful travel experience

KIRKLAND, QC  and CALGARY, AB, May 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada Inc., makers of EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injector, and WestJet today announced results of a survey commissioned to determine the concerns of Canadians at risk of anaphylaxis who may be travelling this summer.

A total of 666 Canadian adults, who were all prescreened as being at risk of anaphylaxis,a or as being responsible for a child at risk, were asked about their allergy concerns when planning a trip.

Forty per cent of respondents expressed that they are not very concerned or not at all concerned with allergy precaution planning. Sixty per cent said they are very to somewhat concerned about allergy precaution planning for future travel.1

According to the survey, respondents at riska said they are "somewhat to very concerned" about taking the following precautions for future travel:

  • A total of 53 per cent were concerned about having an epinephrine auto-injector that is up to date (not expired) and packed for travelling.2 Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) were concerned about ensuring allergy medication is up to date (not expired) and packed.3
  • Among those flying, four in 10 people (43 per cent) said they are concerned about checking the airline's allergy policy prior to departure; four in 10 respondents also are concerned about arranging to have appropriate food on board (42 per cent) or with them on a trip (40 per cent);4

WestJet, in collaboration with Pfizer Canada, has added EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors to all medical kits on board their fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. Epinephrine is the first-line medication that should be used for the emergency management of a person having a potentially life-threatening (or severe) allergic reaction.5

"Anaphylaxis can be a serious health concern for Canadians who are not prepared, particularly when travelling during summer and throughout the year," said Lorella Garofalo, Director, Medical Affairs at Pfizer Canada. "Our goal is to raise awareness of the simple steps Canadians can take to prepare for a safer and less stressful trip when travelling this summer."

According to Lorne Mackenzie, WestJet's Director of Environment and Regulatory Affairs: "This survey demonstrates that there are Canadians at risk of anaphylaxis who take active steps to be prepared while travelling. At WestJet, we have embraced our culture of care by stocking EpiPen Auto-Injectors on board our aircraft and providing detailed information on our website for guests with allergies travelling on our airline."

Additionally, WestJet and Pfizer offer the following tips to help those at risk to plan and prepare for holiday travel:

  • Contact airlines to find out their allergy policy. WestJet's detailed policy includes aircraft preparedness and recommendations for guests with allergies.

  • Check out the buy-on-board items for sale on the aircraft. Airlines' websites will most often feature the items for sale. All of the items on board WestJet aircraft are nut free.

  • If travelling alone, inform a flight attendant of your allergy and where you keep your epinephrine auto-injector. WestJet's flight crew is happy to make an announcement to guests seated around you to ensure your comfort.

  • While on board, take note of people nearby and what they are eating. If travellers at risk of severe allergic reactions feel a substance being eaten by someone nearby might be harmful to them, notify the flight crew.

  • Consider choosing a hotel close to a hospital or satellite health facility. Guests travelling on a WestJet Vacation can find the addresses of all hotel properties at westjetvacations.com.

  • Upon arrival at the hotel, note the phone numbers of cabs and emergency service vehicles and keep this information somewhere where it can easily be accessed.

  • Carry an epinephrine auto-injector if you are at risk of anaphylaxis.

The survey also showed that one in 10 respondents (nine per cent) said they have experienced travel in which an epinephrine auto-injector they had with them was actually needed and used.6 The same number said they have experienced a trip in which they did not pack an auto-injector but needed one.7

Among the 666 respondents surveyed,8 just two per cent took each of these five key precautions during their most recent trip: Checking on the airlines allergy policy, packing their own food when flying, researching their destination for emergency medical facilities and allergy friendly restaurants, and making sure their epinephrine auto-injector is up to date. Meanwhile, 31 per cent said they took none of the above key precautions on their most recent trip. Another 34 per cent had taken just one precaution, 22 per cent took two key precautions, and only seven per cent took three precautions.

About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. At Pfizer, we're working together for a healthier world. For more information, visit www.pfizer.ca.

Important Safety Information (ISI):
EpiPen (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic reactions in patients who are determined by a physician to be at increased risk of anaphylaxis. EpiPen Auto-Injectors are designed as emergency supportive therapy only. After administration, patients should seek medical attention immediately or go to the emergency room. This product may not be right for you, always read and follow the label. For details on EpiPen, or educational and product safety information, please visit www.EpiPen.ca.

About Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that some people have to foods (like peanuts and shellfish), insect stings and bites, medicine, or latex. For some people, it is triggered by exercise. It is a severe allergic reaction that can occur when a person's immune system strongly reacts to an allergen (an allergy-causing substance or event). Symptoms may include one or more of the following: swelling and itching in the mouth and throat, a rash anywhere on the body, difficulty in swallowing or speaking, difficulty breathing, or collapse or unconsciousness. According to Health Canada, food allergies affect as many as 5% to 6% of young children and 3% to 4% of adults in Canada.9 Anaphylaxis Canada estimates that one in two Canadians know someone with a serious food allergy. Severity of an occurrence is unpredictable in at-risk patients, and mild allergic symptoms can be followed by a life-threatening reaction. Epinephrine - also known as adrenaline - is recognized by healthcare professionals as the treatment of choice for severe allergic reactions. It is the drug form of a hormone that the body produces naturally.

About WestJet
WestJet is Canada's preferred airline, offering scheduled service throughout its 76-city North American and Caribbean network. Inducted into Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame and named one of Canada's best employers, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet offers increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of 98 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. With future confirmed deliveries for an additional 37 aircraft through 2018, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.

Connect with WestJet on Facebook at www.facebook.com/westjet
Follow WestJet on Twitter at www.twitter.com/westjet
Subscribe to WestJet on YouTube at www.youtube.com/westjet

About the Ipsos Reid Survey
The survey was commissioned by Pfizer Canada and conducted by Ipsos Reid online between March 2nd and 9th, 2012 among a sample of 666 Canadian adults 18+ years of age who were all prescreened to ensure that they, or children for whom they were responding, are considered at risk of severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. The survey defined "anaphylaxis" as a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that some people have to foods (like peanuts and shellfish), insect stings and bites, medicine, latex, or allergic to or triggered by exercise. It is a severe allergic reaction that occurs when a person is exposed to an allergen (an allergy-causing substance). Symptoms include the following: Swelling and itching in the mouth and throat, a rash anywhere on the body, difficulty in swallowing or speaking, difficulty breathing, collapse or unconsciousness. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 666 Canadian adults and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.8 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults who are at risk of anaphylaxis been polled. Differences were tested using a 95 per cent confidence interval. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.

References

________________________________
a As defined in the Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by Pfizer Canada (March 2-9 2012)

  1. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 30. "When planning future travel, how concerned do you believe you will be with allergy precaution planning?"
  2. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 10. "Thinking ahead to the next time you travel, how concerned do you anticipate being with the following?"
  3. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 10. "Thinking ahead to the next time you travel, how concerned do you anticipate being with the following?"
  4. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 10. "Thinking ahead to the next time you travel, how concerned do you anticipate being with the following?"
  5. Anaphylaxis Canada. Accessed March 19, 2012. Available at: www.anaphylaxis.ca/en/anaphylaxis101/epinephrine.html
  6. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 40. "Have you ever experienced a situation when travelling in which you did take an epinephrine auto-injector with you and used it during a severe allergic reaction that you experienced at that time?"
  7. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 40. "Have you ever experienced a situation when travelling in which you did not take an epinephrine auto-injector with you but needed it due to a severe allergic reaction that you experienced at that time?"
  8. IPSOS REID "2012 Anaphylaxis Travel Survey Report, Page 11 "Precautions taken on most recent travel."
  9. Health Canada. Accessed March 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/index-eng.php

EpiPen®, EpiPen® Jr are registered trademarks of Mylan Inc. licensed exclusively to its wholly-owned affiliate, Dey Pharma, LP. of Napa, California USA, sub-licensee, Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, Quebec, H9J 2M5

SOURCE PFIZER CANADA INC.




Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.