Mum of local boy who had allergic reaction to peanuts on plane sympathises with the Daleys
Mum of local boy who also had an allergic reaction to peanuts on plane sympathises with the Daleys
Reading news reports about an Australian boy's severe allergic reaction on board a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Singapore to Melbourne broke Ms Noor Izlin Ismail's heart.
It reminded her of her son Hayden's allergic reaction on a flight back home from Phuket, Thailand, two years ago.
On July 12, three-year-old Marcus Daley's eyes swelled, and he began vomiting when passengers around him opened their packets of peanuts, which were served as a snack.
He was flying with his parents back home to Melbourne from a holiday in Thailand.
The incident prompted SIA to review the serving of nuts on flights.
The incident went viral online, with netizens split over the Daleys' call for airlines to consider not serving peanuts as a snack on board.
Just like Marcus, Hayden, who is now five, had started swelling up "like a balloon" after a passenger two seats away opened a packet of peanuts, said Ms Izlin, 42.
She told The New Paper: "We immediately gave him an antihistamine. Good thing the plane was about to land in Singapore.
"We were panicking then, but the cabin crew helped and let us alight from the plane first once we landed.
"After the incident, we knew it was best not to travel until Hayden was well."
They have not taken a flight since.
Knowing how serious allergic reactions can be, Ms Izlin empathised with the Daleys' anti-peanut call.
The mother of four said: "It is really sad. Some people feel they need to have peanuts on board. Is it a must? My child could die if he were to eat any of the items he is allergic to."
The second of four children, Hayden has to follow a strict diet as he is allergic to peanuts, almonds, milk and eggs.
Ms Izlin and her husband discovered Hayden's allergies when he started having eczema while on breast milk.
A skin prick test when he was six months old confirmed his allergies.
"Usually, we feed him first before we go out for dinner or for birthday parties," said Ms Izlin, adding that Hayden would sometimes throw tantrums when barred from eating ice cream or drinking Yakult.
When the family eat out, they go to only a handful of places - mostly vegan - that Ms Izlin has marked as safe for Hayden.
Despite her taking the necessary precautions, Hayden still occasionally gets an allergic reaction.
Once, he threw up immediately after eating gelato that was supposed to be dairy-free.
To prepare for such instances, Ms Izlin packs a bottle of antihistamine and two EpiPens.
Hayden was supposed to start on a food tolerance programme to help him overcome his allergies, but a recent medical test found that his allergies have become worse.
"The doctor said children usually grow out of their allergies at three, five, eight or 12 years old. After that, if he still has them, it could be for life.
"We have to wait till January to see if he is fit for the programme," said Ms Izlin.
For now, she is fretting over how to keep Hayden safe when he goes to primary school.
"He can take his own food along, but other children may offer him food. They may not understand his situation or know what he can eat or can't eat.
"But we will see how it goes. One step at a time," she said.
Parents of boy with peanut allergy lodge complaint with SIA
After their son's allergic reaction to peanuts on board a Singapore Airlines flight last Wednesday, Mr Chris Daley and his wife, Madam Hong Daley, both Australians, lodged a formal complaint with Singapore Airlines (SIA).
"We have been brushed off, and we want to make people aware that this can happen on a plane," she said.
SO MANY SNACKS
"All they have to do is just stop serving peanuts… and there are so many snacks," Ms Daley told told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday.
Her comments drew ire from some netizens, who felt the Daleys were too self-centred.
Some, such as netizen Michelle Tan, wondered why SIA should be held accountable.
"Why should SIA be held accountable? Why deprive others of the simple joy of peanuts?" she wrote.
Others, such as netizen Simin Tan, defended the Daleys.
She wrote: "If you're prepared to put someone else at risk because you must have peanuts on a flight, the self-entitlement (complex) is not with the person with a life-threatening allergy."
Netizen Liz Ong, whose child has a peanut allergy, wrote: "We are asking (passengers) to please reconsider for the moment, for the hour, for the duration of the flight, to please inconvenience yourself and your family, to please refrain from eating peanuts.
"For every time that you do, we, parents of these children, will be extremely grateful that you help keep our children safe for the flight."
When approached yesterday, SIA said there are no updates at this point to its review on serving nuts during flights.
Allergic reaction from inhalation rare for Singaporean children
It is rare for children in Singapore with peanut allergies to develop reactions from a mere whiff.
Such children have an allergic reaction when they inhale peanut particles, which are released into the air when a pack of peanuts is opened, said Dr Soh Jian Yi from the National University Hospital.
In serious cases, it can be life-threatening, said the consultant at the Division of Paediatric Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology.
Dr Soh advises parents to carry emergency medications along with them and check for peanut-free flights if they are flying.
While a complete peanut ban on flights is not the norm for major airlines, some provide buffer zones.
For instance, Malaysia Airlines does not serve peanut snacks and peanut condiments in meals to any passenger seated three rows in front and three rows behind the allergic passenger's row.