Dr C: “We need to protect allergy sufferers”
Natasha Ednan-laperouse died after eating a baguette that contained sesame, but wasn’t labelled. Dr C wants awareness
Natasha’s death N was tragic and needless (the 15 year old collapsed mid-flight after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette and later died in hospital).
LABELS MUST CHANGE
I was surprised all the allergens weren’t listed, but I understand they are now addressing this. Two Epipens were jabbed into her legs, but sadly neither worked. A junior doctor then performed CPR, but wasn’t told there was a defibrillator on board. Paramedics met the plane but their defibrillator didn’t work, either. She was incredibly unlucky, but her death is a reminder that we need better awareness about allergies. It’s not someone being awkward – it could kill them.
Many people don’t know the difference between intolerances and allergies. An intolerance is caused by you lacking a certain enzyme needed to digest something – like lactose in milk – so you get diarrhoea or bloating. An allergy is an immune system hypersensitivity, so you get a histamine release that can be deadly. A mild allergic reaction would make you feel itchy or give you a rash; a severe reaction would make your throat swell, you’d have breathing difficulties, feel faint and potentially lose consciousness. In a nutshell, for an intolerance, you’d have a peppermint tea, for a low-level reaction an antihistamine, and for a severe reaction you need to use your Epipen and call 999.
Say your child wants to invite a friend over, but they have allergies, don’t panic, simply call their mum and ask for their advice. If, say, you have a peanut allergy, even kissing somebody who has eaten peanuts could cause a reaction, so you need to know how allergic they are.
GET A PROPER TEST
Children can grow out of allergies to things like milk, eggs and soy, but you rarely grow out of allergies to nuts, sesame and seafood, and you can develop an allergy at any time. If you suspect you or your child has an allergy, don’t rely on high street tests, see your GP.
BE AWARE, SAVE LIVES
Natasha’s life ought to have been saved. Airlines shouldn’t just rely on there being a GP on board, emergency medical equipment should be available in-light, and food should be labelled correctly. Even then, people will make mistakes – a new chef could muddle up chopping boards, for example – so we all need to know about allergies. Ask questions, know to call 999, and hopefully this won’t happen again.
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