Terrifying Emmerdale plot haunts me – I fear my daughter will die because she's embarrassed by her illness | The Sun

A MUM of a 16-year-old girl with a serious nut allergy has spoken of her constant and daily fear that her daughter could die because she doesn’t carry her EpiPen.

Shelby Wigmore’s daughter, who has not been named, doesn’t always take out her lifesaving adrenaline auto-injector pen for fear of looking uncool amongst her friends.

Shelby, 54, is speaking out ahead of a terrifying Emmerdale storyline that will see a fan favourite lose consciousness when he accidentally eats food containing nuts. 

On Monday evening, the ITV1 soap’s Jacob Gallagher, played by hunky Joe-Warren Plant, 21, will take a bite out of a burger that unbeknown to him contains nuts. 

He has had a lifelong nut allergy himself and within seconds, he collapses on the floor with a severe attack of anaphylaxis.

It’s then a race against time to find the two adrenaline pens he should be carrying with him, more commonly known as EpiPens or Jext pens, that can help save his life.  

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Emmerdale’s producers have worked closely with the charity Anaphylaxis UK, which warns that teenagers and those in their early 20s can be in more danger as they are more likely to take risks, and not carry a pen when socialising with friends. 

The experts say parents can face a whole new set of challenges when their child with an allergy becomes a teenager or young adult.

They forget their medication when they leave the house, either intenetionally or by accident, may ignore “may contain” food labelling out of frustration, or be so fearful of their allergy they avoid socialising or eating a normal diet. 

Chief executive Simon Williams said: "Younger people are more at risk – particularly teens and those in their early 20s.

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"Also, younger people in particular are shy about admitting they have something different. If a waiter asks if anyone has an allergy, very often they won’t say.

"What effects people most of all is the quality of life and anxiety that goes with it.

"Thankfully, the number of people dying is relatively low but it is that fear and constant lifelong anxiety.

"It's difficult going to restaurants, on holiday, school trips, and sleepovers because people are so fearful of it (an attack) happening."

For Shelby, who lives in Brighton and works with autistic children, the Emmerdale scenes played out on TV are a real and terrifying potential scenario she fears regularly.  

She told The Sun: “Teenagers don’t take them out because they are not cool.

"I’ve also read they don’t because they look phallic and like a sex aid. 

“For my daughter, invariably she doesn’t take them either. 

“She is 16 and you don’t want to carry around a bulky thing when you are with your cool friends. And they are bulky, I understand this. 

“On the other hand, it’s incredibly frustrating because it can save your life.  

“Of course, I constantly tell her this but I work full time and I am not always there when she leaves home to shove the pens in her bag. 

“But she is also a very sensible girl and I trust her completely that she will protect herself and do the right thing. 

“That said, it does dominate your life. You are constantly thinking about what potentially can go in their body. An innocent meal could be their killer.” 

It dominates your life. An innocent meal could be their killer.

Shelby’s daughter was first diagnosed with her nut allergy 14 years ago.

One in 50 children and one in 200 adults have a nut allergy, Anaphylaxis says.

“She had a massive reaction to pistachio nuts when she was two and a half,” said Shelby, a mum-of-two, whose eldest daughter has no allergies.

“She had been eating a snack box that contained nuts along with raisins. 

“A few minutes later, she started to swell up, she went red, had a rash, her eyes were closed and she was clearly in distress. 

“Just as we arrived at the hospital, her breathing started to go. 

“She was taken into Resus and there was a crash team around her. She is very lucky to be alive.” 

Since that shock diagnosis, Shelby admitted that their lives have naturally revolved around food. 


“You become very practical,” she said. “You have to think about the food you are buying all the time and you become an advocate and educator for your child.  

“Things like birthdays and play dates become very difficult because you can’t just drop them at someone’s house.  

“You have to tell them: ‘if she eats this, she might die’. It's the holidays too that you worry about where it is safe. 

“We have thankfully done some amazing trips, including Zanzibar, but the whole time I was there, I was constantly thinking about where the nearest hospital was ‘just in case’.” 

Now, as Shelby’s daughter prepares to fly the nest in two years’ time, she says she knows she won’t stop worrying. 

“As she grows older, her allergy could potentially become more severe,” she admitted. 

“I worry she will then be accidentally caught out but I have faith there is some research going on in the background to try and eliminate allergies altogether.” 

Going on to praise Emmerdale for featuring a story that will hopefully raise awareness that an adrenaline pen can save lives, Shelby added: “It’s great Emmerdale is airing this storyline and working with the charity.  

“My big dream is one day for all restaurants and schools to have a pen on site too.


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"Just as we now have defibrillators, it would be great to have pens as well. They really do save lives.” 

*If you would like more information on how to live with a food allergy, visit the Anaphylaxis UK website.

How adrenaline pens save lives

Adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs), more commonly known as EpiPens or Jext Pens, can save your life if you suffer from a serious food allergy and are at risk of anaphylaxis.   

An adrenaline pen is an auto-injector that contains epinephrine, a medication that can help your body’s allergic reaction by relaxing the muscles in the airways to make breathing easier as well as helping to reverse the rapid decrease in blood pressure. 

It also relaxes the muscles in the stomach, intestines, and bladder.

Experts advise always carrying two in case the patient needs more adrenaline after 5 minutes whilst waiting for the paramedics.   

If you suspect anaphylaxis, use your auto-injector immediately. 

Then call 999 and say this is an emergency case of anaphylaxis (anna-fill-axis). 

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