Friday, 30 October 2015

Anaphylactic reaction whilst flying

Anaphylaxis is scary no matter what the circumstances are surrounding it however when you're 32,000ft up in the reaches a whole new level of terrifying.

I had an amazing trip away to the Harry Potter Studio's in Watford, UK. I flew from Edinburgh to London Luton and returned via flight the next day. Everything went according to plan until the return journey. I got on the plane and talked to the cabin crew about my nut allergy. They made a special announcement stating they would not be selling nuts on-board the aircraft and asked if people could please refrain from eating their own nutty products they may have brought with them. One of the flight attendants even passed down the aisle a few times to check if people were eating anything nutty.

Within half an hour I found myself starting to become unwell. I began to feel horrendously itchy. My reaction turned from itching to coughing into difficulty breathing. I cannot begin to describe how it felt to be unwell whilst flying. You try to prepare yourself for anything happening. You ensure you have your medication with you, request a doctor's letter stating you're allowed to carry your medicines including epi-pens. You tell the flight crew about your allergy to nuts which in turn means they can stop the sale of nuts. Yet you never actually think anything is going to happen. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Even the best precautions can often amount to nothing.

I am unsure what caused my reaction. I cannot say for certain but I feel that it was down to peanuts being eaten on a previous flight, someone touching something which I in turn touched which resulted in a contact reaction to peanuts. This is the problem with the seriousness of allergies. People do not for the most part realise that ingestion is not the only thing that can result in anaphylaxis, simply touching something that has peanut protein on it or even breathing in the protein can spark a life-threatening reaction.

I am lucky that this reaction was quickly resolved and did not result in anything more than having to use an epi-pen and paramedics checking me over. I am very thankful to the airline for their help throughout the whole incident as well as the airport.

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