This week I wore an orange wig all day on Thursday 22nd June to raise awareness for The Anaphylaxis Campaign. People across the country will have been doing the same thing – did you see anyone with an orange wig on?
“The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK wide charity to exclusively meet the needs of the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) by providing information and support relating to foods and other triggers such as latex, drugs and insect stings.”
During the day I visited a friend in Amersham; her little boy was none too sure about the orange wig! We then visited two participants in the Bucks Open Studios art event, where artists, crafts people and makers show their art across the whole county in the last two weeks of June every year.
We met Alison Berthelsen who not only makes beautiful, unique silver jewellery, but also has an anaphylactic son and has oral allergy syndrome herself so she was very supportive of the wig wearing cause. Alison is a member of the Anaphylaxis Campaign and has supported the campaign herself in the past. We met at a parliamentary reception about allergy treatment and the NHS at the Houses of Parliament. You can watch a video of Alison on the BBC website coverage on the new NICE guidelines. Alison shares her terrifying experiences about how she discovered her son had Anaphylaxis. Watch the video here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12531603.
Later we visited Christine Maciocia who uses an ecclectic mix of textiles to create fabric books, altered vintage children’s dress art, vintage images on fabric wall hangings, shabby-chic art and collage.
Here I am in The Kings Hotel in Stokenchurch training Michelle how to use The Pipeliner CRM system.
The pub was quity busy with people having business meetings and late lunchs so the orange wig did attract quite a bit of attention.
Restaurants and pubs can be difficult places to enjoy for those with allergies. Only this week I was asked by a waiter whether I could just eat something which contained milk anyway and take an anti-histamine as a precaution!
This was because another lady had said she would do that and thought she’d be OK. Clearly she has an intolerance but this does get very confusing for waiting staff and chefs. There is a lot of ignorance about the difference between a real life threatening allergy and food intolerance.
Someone with food intolerance may be able to consume small amounts of the food in question and be fine, and also to minimise any reaction by taking an anti-histamine. For someone with a real life threatening allergy they must avoid the food they are allergic to or risk suffering an anaphylactic reaction.
Far more needs to be done to educate chefs and waiting staff about the dangers of food allergy. It should be given as much importance as health and safety training, after all it could kill a life just like food poisoning can in extreme cases. Anaphylaxis is arguably just as dangerous, if not more so, than food poisoning.
To find out more visit: www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.