A five-year-old girl who has a severe nut allergy allergy has made a video to raise awareness of the life-threatening condition. Ella Heward, a pupil at Llantarnam Community Primary School, talks about her food allergy in this video.
The school has written to parents to say it’s a ‘nut-free’ school. Ella carries an EpiPen and staff have been trained to use it.
Rachel, her mum, said: “Ella did a piece of work in school about ‘what’s important to you’ and the number one thing was that people understand her allergies. After reading this I contacted the school and met with Ms Perrett, the head, who agreed to support me and Ella in raising awareness not only to her friends and parents in her school but also within our community. Ella is a bright girl and manages her allergies very well. I am extremely proud of her for wanting to do this video to raise awareness of allergies.
“When Ella was two she had a severe reaction to pesto while in nursery. We rushed her to hospital as she was struggling to breathe and her ears, mouth and eyes were really swollen.
WATCH Ella talk about her allergy
“She was referred for allergy testing and were told she is allergic to all sorts of nuts and seeds including peanuts but also sesame seeds. We did not realise how many products have sesame seeds or sesame oil in.”
“We’ve had to call 999”
“We have had to dial 999 a number of times and it is really frightening to see your child deteriorating in front of you. As Ella is getting older she vividly remembers these incidents but a positive from this is that she is vigilant in getting us to check ingredients and the contents of her friends’ lunch boxes in school.
“She had since become allergic to raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes are fine though. Her last reaction was on holiday in Spain and we think a knife which had been used to cut tomatoes was used to cut something on Ella’s plate.
“We tell people she has a number of allergies and if, for example she is invited out for tea or to parties we carefully check what food she is going to have. Birthday cakes are often made with ground almonds.”
“Ella is really switched on. We were in Cheeky Monkeys during half-term and I noticed she was eating something. I panicked as she knows not to accept food off anyone. A parent then told me that when her daughter offered Ella a sweet, Ella asked her mum to check the ingredients before accepting it.
“People often confuse intolerance with allergies and they think she will become poorly. They don’t realise she could die.
“The school is a ‘nut free ‘ school but parents still sometimes send nuts in lunch boxes. I really don’t think parents fully understand the seriousness of it. There have been a few high profile cases recently where sadly children have died but still people don’t take it seriously.”