A mum has told how she almost died after suffering a violent allergic reaction – to tanning LOTION.
Gaynor Mallard, 36, blew up “like a pufferfish” minutes after rubbing Black Onyx – a pre-tanning product – all over her body at her local beauty salon.
The mum-of-three, who has a nut allergy, dashed home to shower the lotion off her skin while desperately trying to call for help as her throat closed up.
Luckily, her 14-year-old daughter Frankie was off school with a sickness bug and heard Gaynor’s “gasps” and dashed upstairs .
She found her collapsed in the bath and called 999 while she tried to wipe the liquid off her mum.
Paramedics arrived at the family home in Long Eaton, Notts., and rushed Gaynor to hospital where she received an adrenaline injection to counter the allergic reaction.
Gaynor, a finance manager who lives with partner Lewis Constantine, 35, a factory worker, said she owed her life to her daughter’s quick thinking.
She said: “I went to my local sunbathing shop and asked them which cream do they think is the best to use, I was given a sachet to use.
“I applied it in the shop but as soon as I put it on my skin I knew there was something wrong.
“I felt my skin was itching and burning, I asked the woman at the shop if they had a shower I could use but they didn’t have one, so I put my clothes back on and rushed home.
“As soon as I got in I took some antihistamine usually it works but this time it didn’t, I jumped into the shower and could feel my throat swelling, it was getting harder to breathe and I collapsed.
“My daughter Frankie ran upstairs and saw me and said should I ring nana but I said ‘no I’m going to ring 999’.
“She was comforting me and telling me I was going to ok and that later I would be eating chocolates in bed.
“It took nine minutes for the paramedics to get here, they usually respond in eight or nine minutes, which is great.
“When they got here they said they have never seen someone so red and said I looked like a pufferfish, they gave me a shot of adrenaline but it didn’t work.
“My daughter covered me up with new clothes and helped the paramedics move me to my bed, where they gave me another shot of adrenaline, and after the third shot, I could kind of breathe.
“One paramedic knew it was working because I made a joke and they could hear me, it was the longest nine minutes of my life.”
Frankie has since been awarded a Laverick Award from East Midlands Ambulance Service for her calmness during the 999 call.
Gaynor, who also has daughters Chelsea, 16, and nine-year-old Maggie, added: “Weirdly Frankie was ill that day and came home early, someone was defiantly on my side that day, if it wasn’t for Frankie being there that day I wouldn’t be alive.
“She is really embarrassed about all the praise but I’m really proud of her, she saved me, she might use this against me now whenever she wants something but she’s my hero.
“Even when everything was going on with the paramedics working on me she remained calm, they asked her to put the clothes I was wearing on me but she said we can’t because they still have some lotion on them, she acted on instinct, she’s just brilliant.”
Gaynor has since made a full recovery since the incident on September 19 and has lodged a complaint with The Bronzing Rooms in Long Eaton where she received the sachet.
She said: “The product itself had no labels on it warning that it contained nuts and at my local sunbathing shop you have to sign and tell them if you have any allergies which I did.
“When the paramedics rang up the store to ask what the exact ingredients were in the product they said it contained juglans cinerea, known as butternut, even the paramedic had to google it.
“When the paramedics rang the store they said they were going to put signs up warning others, but when I went back to warn them and just say I’m fine, they didn’t care.
“They weren’t bothered, they’re usually really nice, I spoke to lady at the front desk and was met with complete ignorance, and she said she didn’t think nut allergies were a thing.”
TRANSCRIPT OF FRANKIE’S 999 CALL
Call handler: “Is the patient breathing?”
Call handler: “Is the patient conscious?”
Frankie: “She’s got a nut allergy, it my mum, she says she can’t breath and her throat is swelling up.
Call handler: “Is she conscious?”
Frankie: “Yes she’s conscious. It’s okay, just try and breathe as much as you can.”
Call handler: “Has she ever had a serve allergic reaction before?”
Frankie: “Have you ever had it this bad mummy?…not this bad. Her whole body is red.”
Call handler: “Reassure her that help is being arranged. It’s really important that you coach her through her breathing, so we are going to get her to slow it down.”
(Speaking to her mum) Frankie: “Slow your breathing down, breathe down. Follow me. Just breathe really slow. It’s going to be okay.”
Frankie: “I don’t think she can breathe at all.”
Call handler: “If she becomes less awake or starts getting worse, tell me immediately.”
Frankie: “It’ll be okay mum, the ambulance is coming.”
Call handler: “We’ve got someone coming to you as fast as we can. Have you ever had to do something like this before?”
Call handler: “You are doing very well.”
Frankie to her mum: “Stay calm, mum, don’t panic because it’ll make it harder to breathe.”
Frankie (to paramedics): “Oh! Hello! We’re upstairs!”
Paramedic: “Are you okay?”
Frankie: “They’re here and in the same room.”
Call handler: “Okay, I’ll leave you with them. You’ve done really, really well.”
Frankie: “Okay, bye.”
Call handler: “Take care, bye, bye.”