A TEENAGER who suffered a life-threatening allergic reaction is encouraging people to learn the signs of the condition.
Sam Baker, 15, was in a kick boxing class at Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex with his brother Ben, 19, when he began feeling faint and a rash broke out all over his body.
Fortunately, instructor Dave Gentry (left) recognised Sam (centre) was suffering anaphylactic shock and his life was in danger and realised urgent medical attention was needed.
Mr Gentry, 51, had been on an course dealing with the condition – anaphylaxis – just a week before.
He told centre staff to call 999. But the caller was informed the ambulance service was busy and Sam should be taken to hospital if he just had a rash.
Mr Gentry requested 999 to be called again and the ambulance control be made aware Sam was going into anaphylactic shock. Sam was close to blacking out when an ambulance arrived.
“He was clearly in a serious position,” said Mr Gentry, of Brookside, Uxbridge. “I had seen pictures on the course, but his symptoms were much worse. He was unrecognisable.”
Sam was treated at Hillingdon Hospital with intravenous antihistamine and steroids and monitored overnight. He recovered and is undergoing tests to determine what caused the reaction.
Sam, a pupil at Haydon School in Eastcote, told the Gazette: “I wanted the story to be published because I believe that it spreads awareness.
“I also think allergic reactions should be taken more seriously because, if it wasn’t for Dave and the paramedics, the outcome could have been life-threatening.”
His mother, Janet Baker, added: “Sam is very keen to let people know about what happened and is hopeful it will help people in the future.”
She praised Mr Gentry, the leisure centre staff and the paramedics and for their care and quick-thinking during the incident on Tuesday, December 18.
Mr Gentry is no stranger to life saving. He was nominated for the Pride of Britain local champion award in 2009, for rescuing a three-year-old boy he found dangling from a washing line.
“I have a duty of care to my students and a very important part is being first aid qualified and up-to-date with current procedures so I can deal with unexpected situations like this,” he said. “I just did my job.”
Anaphylaxis can cause swelling of the throat, restricting or even stopping breathing.
Common causes include foods such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, shellfish, dairy products and eggs, and other triggers such as wasp or bee stings, latex and penicillin.
Sam, who lives with his family in Pinner, has been given an EpiPen for use if he suffers another allergic reaction. It injects adrenaline into the thigh, which can keep a sufferer alive until they receive medical help.