Love Island star Jack Fowler urges removal of nuts from planes after near-fatal incident

Love Island star Jack Fowler urges removal of nuts from planes after near-fatal incident

Love Island star Jack Fowler has called for the removal of nuts from planes following a near-fatal incident on a recent flight to Dubai. The 28-year-old reality TV star shared his harrowing experience on Instagram, where he has 1.1 million followers, detailing how he was served a cashew curry despite informing Emirates flight attendants twice about his severe nut allergy. The meal caused his throat to close up, leaving him with the “possibility of dying on the plane.”

Fowler recounted the terrifying ordeal, explaining that he was rushed to Dubai’s airport hospital upon landing for further treatment. He questioned the airline’s negligence, asking, “What needs to happen for airlines to take food allergies seriously? Giving a passenger food which they’ve stated TWICE will cause extreme harm is unacceptable.”

Experts have since urged the public to be vigilant about the symptoms of severe allergic reactions. Dr. Gareth Nye, a senior lecturer at Chester Medical School, explained to The Mirror that anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. He noted that the triggers for such reactions are individual and depend on one’s immune system and genetics. Allergies can also develop over time due to exposure to common allergens like dust or animal hair.

One of the most alarming aspects of Fowler’s reaction was the rapid onset of symptoms. He recalled that immediately after trusting the flight attendant and eating the chicken curry, his throat closed up, and breathing became extremely difficult. Dr. Nye highlighted that this rapid onset is typical for those suffering from anaphylaxis, with symptoms often appearing within minutes or even seconds after exposure.

Dr. Nye further explained that the average time of onset for anaphylaxis is between five and 30 minutes. The most serious signs include throat swelling, which can obstruct breathing, and severe tongue swelling. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, vomiting, or even loss of consciousness. If untreated, a full anaphylactic shock can be fatal within just 15 minutes, making it crucial to act quickly.

The first step in treating anaphylaxis is to remove the allergen and maintain a clear airway. Most people with severe allergies carry an EpiPen, which contains epinephrine. If the patient is unable to use it, those around them should administer it and call an ambulance as soon as possible. Dr. Nye emphasized the importance of keeping the patient calm and breathing normally.

Allergist Dr. Rubin also stressed the importance of epinephrine as the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis. He explained on his TikTok account that epinephrine works quickly to constrict blood vessels and raise the heart rate, helping to reverse swelling that can make breathing difficult. Antihistamines like Benadryl or Zyrtec are not effective for treating anaphylaxis and should not be the first line of choice.

Administering an EpiPen can seem daunting, but instructions are typically included on the side of the injector. The process involves grasping the EpiPen in your dominant hand, removing the blue safety cap, and jabbing the orange tip into the outer thigh at a right angle. The EpiPen should be held firmly in place for three seconds before being removed. Despite using an EpiPen, an ambulance should always be called, as a second anaphylactic reaction can occur within 12 hours of the first.

Dr. Rubin urged people to share this information widely, as it could help save lives. Emirates has since apologized for Fowler’s experience, stating that the safety and health of their customers are taken very seriously. However, they noted that they cannot guarantee a nut-free inflight environment and urged travelers with dietary or medical requirements to consult their doctor before travel.

Fowler’s incident has sparked a broader conversation about the need for airlines to take food allergies more seriously. British reality stars Jack Fowler and Megan McKenna have joined calls for the next UK government to appoint a leader to act as a champion for people with allergies. They led signatures on an open letter by The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, calling for an allergy tsar to be appointed to prevent more unnecessary deaths.

The letter urges political parties running in the General Election to pledge to give greater priority to allergy issues and commit to appointing an allergy tsar if they form the next government. This call to action comes after Fowler required five tanks of oxygen and an EpiPen following his severe allergic reaction on the flight to Dubai.

Fowler emphasized the need for a national lead to stand up for people with allergies, hoping that the next government will listen to the millions affected and take action. McKenna, who suffers from a wheat allergy, also voiced her concerns, stating that “enough is enough” and calling for allergies to be taken seriously.

The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation was established by Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse after their 15-year-old daughter Natasha died from a severe allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette containing sesame in 2016. The foundation’s founders see this as an opportunity for the next government to lead and tackle the modern-day epidemic of allergies, which affects thousands of people in every constituency.

Following Natasha’s death, the law was changed to require all food outlets to provide a full ingredients list and allergy labeling on food pre-packaged for direct sale. However, incidents like Fowler’s highlight the ongoing need for vigilance and better management of food allergies, especially in public settings like airplanes.

Fowler’s experience is not an isolated incident. In 2023, he also suffered a severe allergic reaction on a Qatar Airways flight after being served ice cream containing nuts. Despite repeatedly informing the staff of his life-threatening allergy, he was served nuts twice during the flight. Qatar Airways has since stated that they require passengers with severe food allergies to notify the airline in advance and that they work to reduce the risk of contamination, although an allergen-free environment cannot be guaranteed.

Fowler’s call for the removal of nuts from planes and better management of food allergies is a crucial step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers with severe allergies. His experience serves as a stark reminder of the potentially life-threatening consequences of food allergies and the need for greater awareness and action.

Source: The Mirror, Gloucestershire Live, The Independent

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