Going orange for allergy

Warrington Guardian: Emma Smith and Tasha Coates Emma Smith and Tasha Coates

TWO friends are hoping the town will don orange wigs this month to raise awareness of a condition which has meant one can not even be in the same room as peanuts without collapsing.

Emma Smith and Tasha Coates, who met working for St John’s Ambulance as first aiders, have both had their lives changed by anaphylaxis, an extreme and severe allergic reaction.

Emma, whose first reaction was in the summer last year, and 18-year-old Tasha, who started with the condition a couple of months ago, are now hoping to raise cash and awareness on the second annual orange wig day on May 17.

Emma, from Locking Stumps, said: “It usually starts with swelling around my lips, my breathing becomes erratic and progresses from there until I collapse and end up in hospital.

“The first time was really scary but fortunately I was with St John’s Ambulance at the time and a doctor gave me a shot of adrenaline.

“I realised it was nuts that caused it when I was on a night out and collapsed after my friend opened a packet.

“Now I always have to check what’s in different food and eating out is really hard; Chinese and Indian restaurants are a definite no now.

“My friends and family know what to do if it happens but a lot of people don’t know what you mean when you say anaphylaxis.”

Emma has collapsed eight times in the past year and tests have so far found she is allergic to peanuts and hazelnuts.

The condition can be fatal if not treated quickly but both girls manage it by carrying adrenaline shots with them wherever they go.

The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK charity supporting the growing number of people at risk from severe allergic reactions.

For more details about orange wig day e-mail carey.ledford@anaphlyaxis.org.uk.

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