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After Love Island star's anaphylactic shock, lawyers explain what it is and how to deal with it

It's been reported that Love Island star Jack Fowler recently suffered anaphylactic shock while on a flight to Dubai, after being served an in-flight dish containing cashew nuts.

According to various news reports, after being told by the onboard staff that the chicken curry meal did not contain nuts, Jack began to eat it and immediately felt his throat “close up” and began struggling to breathe. He required emergency treatment whilst on the flight, and was given five tanks of oxygen, as well as administering his adrenaline pen. 

What is anaphylactic shock?

As an international serious injury lawyer, I've supported people affected by anaphylactic shock - a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction that can occur rapidly after exposure to allergens. Individuals with known allergies should always be vigilant about avoiding potential allergens, as even trace amounts can trigger anaphylaxis. 

What are the common symptoms of anaphylactic shock?

Common symptoms of anaphylactic shock - otherwise known as anaphylaxis - include skin reactions such as hives, itching, flushed or pale skin, and a sensation of warmth. There may also be a feeling of a lump in the throat, difficulty swallowing, and swelling of the throat and tongue. 

Respiratory symptoms are also prevalent, including difficulty breathing, wheezing, or a rapid, weak pulse. Gastrointestinal symptoms can occur, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. 

In severe cases, there can be a sudden drop in blood pressure, leading to dizziness, fainting, or loss of consciousness. It's important to note that symptoms can vary from person to person and can develop rapidly, often within minutes of exposure to an allergen, as was the case here.

What to do if someone is suffering from anaphylactic shock

If someone is experiencing anaphylactic shock, it's critical to act quickly. Below, our legal experts have outlined some important tips to follow - 

  1. Call for emergency medical help immediately. Remember, anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention. Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
  2. If they have an adrenaline auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, and you can assist them or they can use it themselves, do so without delay, following the instructions provided with the device. If symptoms do not improve within five minutes, a second dose of adrenaline may be administered if available.
  3. Help the person to lie down and elevate their legs to improve blood flow, unless they are having trouble breathing, in which case they should sit up to aid breathing. 
  4. Do not give them anything to drink, and if there is vomiting or bleeding, turn them on their side to prevent choking. 

Advice to help avoid anaphylactic shock when flying

If you have a known allergy, before flying, it's advisable to carry out the following steps - 

  • Research airlines' allergy policies, as some may offer allergy-friendly meals or have specific protocols in place. 
  • During the flight ask to read the menu, and better still the ingredients, to ensure allergens are not present. 
  • Carry an allergy action plan and ensure that all necessary medications, such as adrenaline auto-injectors, are easily accessible during the flight.
  • Inform the flight crew about any allergies and where the medication is stored. 
  • Use wet wipes to clean the seating area which can also help minimize the risk of contact with allergens. 
  • In the event of an allergic reaction, use the adrenaline auto-injector promptly and alert the flight crew immediately. This is extremely vital as the crew can then assist and, if available, seek help from a medical professional onboard.

Legal support for those affected

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and families affected by anaphylactic shock at the dedicated section on our website.

If you've suffered an allergic reaction that could've been prevented by those handling your food, contact our team on 0800 056 4110 or get in touch online.


"This left me with the real possibility of dying on the plane as I knew I needed emergency treatment immediately," he said.”