Raising awareness for The Anaphylaxis Campaign – Orange Wig Day!

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.

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Haha – it suits you! Well done!

    (Sorry in advance… anti-h’s don’t work for food intolerance – unless, possibly, a histamine intolerance [but will need to check that])

    (Expect the lady had a mild food allergy, possibly to raw fruits and veg, which is called OAS.)


    • Hi Alex. Thanks for the comments. Not sure it suited me at all… definately not my colour. Just to clarify, I have been prescribed antihistamines for my food intolerances in the past. Perhaps they were really mild allergic reactions? I could tolerate some dairy in certain forms (e.g. natural yogurt, butter, hard cheese) but had to limit the amount I ate and digestive enzymes seemed to help but gradually I began to react to all types of dairy so had to stop eating it.

      So what is the difference between an intolerance and mild allergic reaction? A food intolerance is where a person gets a genuine and repeatable reaction to a certain food type. They can’t digest it properly so it gives them problems like skin rashes, abdominal pains etc.

      Anti-h would only help to curb itching and reduce swelling, so if your intolerance reaction was a mild itching or rash, they would help a bit wouldn’t they?

      The other lady had said she had a dairy allergy too so was she was just using the word wrongly? I heard her talking to the waiter and she said she just avoided dairy as much as possible but would be OK if she took an antihistamine! Well, not quite OAS as she specifically mentioned dairy.

      So could she just have a mild allergy? An allergy that allows her to eat the food in question at times? Could that be right? Or is that an intolerance? And she should have been taking some digestive enzymes? Reminds me of the gluten gorging coeliac chef!

      I did try to explain to the waiter how serious allergies can be and that I carry adrenalin, only a tiny bit of milk would cause a severe reaction…and anti-histamines would definitely not be an option, but he wasn’t really listening. All gets very hard to explain doesn’t it? If people say they have an allergy but can then tolerate eating it… do they really have an allergy at all?

      Let’s have, a heated debate!

  2. Ha – well not sure orange really suits anyone, but I think you got away with it fairly well!

    A food allergy is an immunological reaction which causes release of histamine – hence anti-histamines to combat it.

    A food intolerance doesn’t trigger a release of histamine (to my knowledge) so I really dont’ know how an anti-h would help it. Don’t know – maybe this is one for the real experts.

    Some people do refer to a mild allergy as an intolerance, though, and it really isn’t. Even a mild allergy if an allergy. And a severe intolerance is still an intolerance. One doesn’t merge into the other – they are distinct conditions.

    I know in some intolerances there can be histamine release without an immunological reaction – so that probably explains some cases. Maybe some docs prescribe anti-h a bit ‘experimentally’ to see if they help – on the basis that they can’t really harm so may as well try them. Don’t know, just speculating…

  3. Hi Ruth. I almost died 34 months ago from an anaphylactic attack. I would like to share with you my story:


    • Evelyn thank you for sharing. Your story is truly frightening and inspirational and I could associate with so much of what you have been through. It brought a tear to my eye. Stay safe please!

  4. Hi Ruth! Thanks for dropping by at my blog. You stay safe too! Take care. And keep on sharing. You have a very interesting website! 🙂

    • Thank you Evelyn – so do you! I am alwasy learning new stuff so I just feel I have to share it on here. It’s a life long journey I think, trying to find out what our annoying bodies are doing and why. Fascinating stuff. I’ll be dropping by your blog again soon…

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