Jo supports Pharmacists campaign to tackle deadly allergies

Jo Swinson MP for East Dunbartonshire, who experienced a life threatening allergic reaction earlier this year, is today helping Scotland’s community pharmacies launch a campaign aimed at saving lives.

 The Liberal Democrat MP went into anaphylactic shock after inadvertently eating nuts earlier this summer – and only prompt medical attention averted a potentially lethal outcome.

Community Pharmacy Scotland, the organisation which represents the owners of Scotland’s 1250 community pharmacies, today asked the MP to help them launch their awareness and Anaphylaxis emergency treatment campaign at Auchinairn Pharmacy in Bishopbriggs.

Martin Green, Chairman of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said:

“Jo’s own case was very high profile, and brought what is a very real –and for those affected – a very terrifying issue to light.  Those who suffer from some of these serious allergies – for example to nuts, shellfish, or insect bites and stings – know that an attack can be lethal and getting help quickly is essential.

“We have been engaging with our members and with anaphylaxis and allergy charities to see what we might helpfully do to help raise awareness and to provide greater access to emergency treatment.

“That is why we have asked our members to sign up to providing emergency anaphylaxis treatment – and more than half have already committed. In future, wherever a pharmacy displays an orange anaphylaxis treatment cross, people will know they can get trained help. That means that throughout Scotland’s cities, towns and villages hundreds of community pharmacies will be geared up to help in an emergency.”

Jo Swinson MP added:

“I was immensely grateful for the prompt and excellent medical treatment I received at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital when I had to use my adrenaline injector.

“Anaphylaxis is an extreme and severe allergic reaction which can affect the whole body within minutes, though sometimes it takes hours.  It’s always important for those with severe allergies to have an adrenalin injector with them, either an EpiPen or Jext both of which you can get with a prescription here in Scotland.  

“I whole-heartedly support the Community Pharmacy Scotland campaign and their work to improve access to emergency treatment. I would encourage pharmacists, and anyone else for that matter, to spread the message of the importance of giving adrenalin and calling an ambulance as soon as possible after someone reacts.”

Anaphylactic shock is treated by an adrenaline injection when serious symptoms are experienced by an individual.

  • In the UK around 20-30 deaths due to anaphylaxis occur annually.1
  • In the UK 500,000 people have had a venom-induced anaphylactic reaction1
  • 220,000 have had a nut anaphylaxis1
  • Food allergy is more common in children. Medical product or venom allergy is more common in adults

[1] Ewan PW for the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2006) The nature and extent of allergy in the United Kingdom. A report to the Department of Health Review of Allergy Services.



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