Television doctor Hilary Jones joined the founder of Newhaven charity Haydn’s Wish, Emma Wileman, to raise awareness of testing for allergies and asthma.
Dr Hilary, who is best known for his appearances on ITV’s GMTV and Daybreak shows, is backing the charity’s campaign It’s Best To Test.
Emma’s son Haydn would have studied at Tideway School but died aged nine, after suffering anaphylactic shock from an undiagnosed allergy to peanuts in his breakfast cereal.
Dr Hilary and Emma visited Tideway School in Southdown Road, Newhaven on Thursday January 30, where they raises awareness of their campaign.
The television doctor spoke to staff and children about his job and some of the experiences he has had.
Dr Hilary said: “‘It’s Best To Test’ is urging parents, particularly of children with asthma, to seek help for tiny changes in their child’s symptoms, from patches of eczema to the onset of hay fever, that could indicate they are at risk of developing food allergies.”
Asthma causes one death every eight hours and a hospital admission in England every eight minutes.
The charity said most of us will know someone who suffered from asthma, but explained we were far more likely to be in the dark about food allergies and especially the links between the two.
It said the reality was that if you had a food allergy, you were four times more likely to have asthma too.
Emma added: “It has been great to get in a room with school staff and discuss the issue.
“Allergies really can be fatal and yet finding them just takes a simple test.
“If you have any concerns about your child, or family members, you should talk to your GP.”
The charity said in one survey, GPs owned up to having little faith in their own ability to work out which symptoms could be caused by food allergies.
Making healthcare professionals sit up and take more notice of children whose additional symptoms point to food allergies is also the goal of the new campaign.
The charity explained poor training and a lack of knowledge from GPs meant many children were unaware of having a food allergy.