New Tool for Recognizing and Treating Anaphylaxis


Ottawa, Ontario — Monday July 29, 2019

Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergy that rapidly affects multiple body systems and can be deadly. In Canada, around 8% of allergy-related emergency department visits are due to anaphylactic shock. Despite the seriousness and frequency of anaphylaxis, there’s a significant gap in the recognition and treatment by children, youth and families. A research team at the CHEO Research Institute has developed a new education toolkit called Kids’ CAP that helps children, youth and families better understand how to recognize and treat an anaphylactic reaction.

“The Canadian Anaphylaxis Action Plan for Kids: Development and Validation”, published in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, outlines the creation and validation of the Canadian Anaphylaxis Action Plan for Kids (Kids’ CAP), which incorporates validated pictograms with written instructions, along with a teaching video.

“We wanted to help patients and families better understand how to recognize and treat an anaphylactic reaction,” says Dr. Waleed Alqurashi, an Emergency Department physician at CHEO, Kids’ CAP creator and lead author of the article. “Improving patient education in the recognition and management of anaphylaxis is a critical priority for us to prevent potentially serious consequences such as life-threatening allergic reactions.”

The Kids’ CAP tool was developed based on an iterative human-centered design approach, meaning researchers tested the tools with children, youth and their families, made changes based on feedback and kept refining the tools with patient and family input. The design process consisted of a development phase and clinical validation phase. During the development phase, the research team assessed the readability of this bilingual tool to develop written contents that a child in grade 7 or under can easily read and understand. In the next phase, 12-17-year old patient or patients’ caregivers for those children younger than 12 were given the Kids’ CAP tool during the first consultation with allergy specialists or during an Emergency Department visit for anaphylaxis. The research team conducted phone interviews with over 200 of those patients and families 2 to 3 weeks later to assess their comprehension of anaphylaxis management.

“In Kids’ CAP, we’ve created a valid tool that can be used in emergency departments, allergy clinics, classrooms and day cares to improve children’s and caregiver’s comprehension of what anaphylaxis is and how it should be treated,” says Dr. Alqurashi. “We hope that with Kids’ CAP, we can reduce severe anaphylaxis that leads to hospitalizations or deaths.”

In January 2019, The Kids’ CAP video received a special commendation from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s IHDCYH Talks video competition.

The Kids’ CAP materials are available here:


The CHEO Research Institute coordinates the research activities of CHEO and is affiliated with the University of Ottawa. Its three programs of research are molecular biomedicine, health information technology, and evidence to practice research. Key themes include cancer, diabetes, obesity, mental health, emergency medicine, musculoskeletal health, electronic health information and privacy, and genetics of rare disease. The CHEO Research Institute makes discoveries today for healthier kids tomorrow. For more information, visit


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