Nicola Forrest can remember every traumatic second of the day she had to resuscitate her two-year-old daughter.
Little Isla, now nearly four, has had various food allergies since she was weaned.
But when she accidentally found a stray cashew nut and popped it in her mouth nobody could have predicted how bad it would get.
Community children and family nurse Nicola (35) says Isla’s reaction was more traumatic than most.
“Her big brother Brodie ran through and told me she had found a nut and put it in her mouth.
“We were lulled into a false sense of security as there was no reaction for 10-15 minutes. She then said her mouth was itchy so we gave her antihistamines. She quickly become distressed so I phoned the GP to see if we could bring her down. And while on the phone my husband Martyn (37) brought her through and her lips had blown up and her eyes, you couldn’t even see eyeballs. I hung up on the GP and phoned an ambulance.”
Her situation deteriorated and Nicola was giving her mouth-to-mouth by the time the paramedics arrived.
A shot of adrenalin improved matters in the short term, but she needed two more doses and a stay in intensive care before stabilising. She has now been prescribed her own adrenalin filled epipen.
Nicola, who has now started a support group for other families in Kirkintilloch, said the impact on all the family has been huge.
“Brodie (6) witnessed it all. And for weeks afterwards I would wake up in the night shaking.
“As I nurse I had experienced anaphylaxis countless times, but that was in a hospital setting, and it is different when it is your own child.”
Isla goes to Riverside Nursery, where the staff have been ‘outstanding and fantastic’ in dealing with her challenges, but ordinary situations need careful planning.
Nicola said: “Everything has to be completely cooked from scratch – for example some cold meats have dairy in them, eggs are used as a flavouring – there can be so many hidden ingredients.
“There is definitely a need for a support group here, so many people attended the first one, more than any other elsewhere in the country.”