TV Doctor Hilary Jones is set to visit Edinburgh as part of an ongoing health campaign to raise awareness about asthma and allergies.
Along with Emma Wileman, founder of the Haydn’s Wish charity, he will attend Edinburgh Academy to spread the word about the dangers to children.
Emma’s son, Haydn, tragically died aged 9 due to anaphylactic shock caused by the combination of asthma and an allergic reaction to peanuts.
The campaign, ‘Best To Test’, is in its second year and is designed to improve the diagnosis of allergies and how to treat them – which in turn could save lives.
Allergies trigger asthma exacerbations in 60-90% of children and 50% of adults with asthma.
Patients with asthma plus an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts are at an increased risk of fatal anaphylaxis. Around 1 in 12 children have a food allergy and 1 in 70 children have a peanut allergy
Last year ‘Best To Test’ set out to make the unknown known; spreading the word about allergies and its connection with asthma, the dangers and how to treat them to school children across the country.
“’Best To Test’ is urging parents, particularly of children with asthma, to seek help for tiny changes in their child’s symptoms, from patches of eczema to the onset of hay fever, which could indicate they’re at risk of developing a food allergy,” Dr. Hilary said.
“We also want to make teachers and pupils more aware so they can seek help and advice.”
He added: “If you have a food allergy, you are four times more likely to have asthma.”
Asthma should not be treated lightly. Around 5.4 million people in the UK have asthma, of which 1.1 million are children. On average, every 21 minutes a child is admitted to A&E following an asthma attack.
But too few are aware of the links between asthma and allergies.
Emma, Pride of Britain Award 2014 nominee said: “We knew Haydn was a severe asthmatic, but the peanut allergy came completely out of the blue. I, as a parent, had no idea what allergies were about and certainly didn’t realise the potential severity of them.
“As far as we are aware nothing could’ve been done to save Haydn after the reaction had happened, however, it doesn’t mean we can’t use his story to raise awareness and save others.”
Dr. Hilary Jones and Emma will continue to visit schools throughout the year across England, Scotland and Wales.