‘Nuts to my food fear’ says trialist Thomas

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A night out at the restaurant used to be a potential minefield for Saracen’s Head teenager Thomas Baragwanath.

The 16-year-old’s lifelong allergy to peanuts meant that an Indian curry or a Chinese stir fry could be potentially fatal to him through an over-reaction of the body’s immune system.

But life is now brighter for Thomas after doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, accepted him onto a trial to develop a new therapy for peanut allergy sufferers.

Thomas said: “When I was little, I was given a peanut butter sandwich but when I started eating it, my face and lips just swelled up and I was rushed to hospital where I was kept in overnight because it was such a violent reaction.

“Ever since then, I had to learn what I could eat in case I got a reaction and if I even touched a peanut, I could get a rash.”

Thomas was put on a peanut allergy therapy programme in January 2011 after watching a news report on TV about the research programme being carried out in Cambridge.

“I would go to Addenbrooke’s Hospital every two weeks and the doctors would give me a small amount of peanut which was grinded down into powder and mixed into yoghurt,” Thomas said.

“They would check to see if there was any reaction and then increase the dosage.

“At first, my tongue felt quite itchy and at one time, I felt a bit ill. But now I don’t have to worry about what I’m eating when I go out with my friends and it’s a massive weight off my shoulders.”

Thomas’s dad Steve Baragwanath, prinipal at University Academy Holbeach, said: “We’re very, very grateful to the team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for allowing Thomas to go on the trial. They looked after him properly and the concern about his peanut allergy has gone.”




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