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John Simpson: BBC editor was pushed to the ‘brink’ by ‘rare and deadly allergic reaction’

Fitness & Health:

John Simpson, 72, the former foreign correspondent and world affairs editor of BBC News, was pushed to the “brink” in 2016 after a “terrifying illness”. The editor revealed an insight into his experience on Twitter following the harrowing incident.

On September 18, 2016, he tweeted: “Back from the brink, thanks to @ouhospitals.”

The editor shared more insight in a previous tweet on September 12, stating: “Thank heavens for Stuart Mckechnie and the ICU team at the Radcliffe.

“I’d not have survived, due to a rare and deadly allergic reaction.”

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He later thanked a well-wisher, saying the experience was “terrifying but all fine now”.

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Speaking to the BBC at the time, John’s wife Dee Kruger Simpson said he was “suddenly taken seriously ill” on Thursday 9 September after what they thought was a bout of mild food poisoning and dehydration.

She told the BBC he had “an acute and toxic shock to his system which made him suddenly very unwell”.

She added: “Within an hour of being admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital (in Oxford), Dr Stuart Mckechnie and his medical team were suddenly fighting to save John’s life.

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“A rare and unusual case was how doctors described it, and a certain amount of pure bad luck.”

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

In the case of an allergic reaction to food, symptoms almost always develop a few seconds or minutes after eating the food.

The NHS explained: “Some people may develop a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life-threatening.

“The most common type of allergic reaction to food is known as an IgE-mediated food allergy.”

Symptoms can include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth.
  • A raised, itchy red rash (hives). In some cases, the skin can turn red and itchy, but without a raised rash.
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, throat or other areas of the body
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • Feeling dizzy and lightheaded.
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain or diarrhoea.
  • Hay fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing or itchy eyes.

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What are the symptoms of a serious allergic reaction?

The symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, tend to come on suddenly and get worse very quickly.

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Initial symptoms of anaphylaxis are often the same as those of a typical allergic reaction, but they can lead to:

  • Swollen tongue.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Tight chest.
  • Trouble swallowing or speaking.
  • Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • Collapse.

The NHS added: “Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Without quick treatment, it can be life-threatening.

“If you think you or someone you know is experiencing anaphylaxis, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance as soon as possible.”


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