Unusual allergy symptoms revealed as Greg Rutherford recovers

Strictly Come Dancing star Greg Rutherford is recovering after being rushed to hospital with a suspected allergic reaction, and his surprising symptoms have shocked many.

Greg, 36, was screaming in pain and clawing at his skin before entering a state of delirium on Saturday, forcing his fiancée Susie Verrill to drive him to hospital where he was ‘pumped full of steroids and antihistamines’.

While they don’t know what caused the reaction yet, it sounds pretty scary. So, what are the unexpected ways that allergies can affect your body?

Margaret Kelman, specialist allergy nurse for Allergy UK, explains that there are countless ways an allergic reaction can manifest, with some symptoms being more common than others.

She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘During an allergic reaction, the immune system releases of lots of chemicals into the blood stream including histamine that cause a lot of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. 

‘Skin symptoms, such as extreme itching and swelling, are a common feature of an allergic reaction.’

While we all might be used to scratching an itch, skin symptoms like Gregg’s can lead to you clawing at the affected area.

Anaphylaxis is the term given for an acute allergic reaction that can develop rapidly. On the subject of anaphylaxis, Margaret says: ‘These symptoms can affect your airways, breathing, circulation and also often neurological symptoms.

‘Examples of such symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest or throat tightness.’

Feeling faint and dizzy and in extreme cases, collapsing is also something that can occur during an extreme reaction, so it’s important to sit down as soon as the dizziness manifests so you can avoid injury.

One lesser known symptom of an allergic reaction, according to Margaret, is ‘feeling anxious or that something really bad is happening’.

Delirium is also possible, as experienced by Greg, which is an offshoot of anaphylaxis.

One allergic reaction in particular that is common during the summer months is venom caused by bee or wasp stings.

Amena Warner, head of clinical services for Allergy UK adds: ‘For most people this is a small to large, localised swelling. Whilst these symptoms may be uncomfortable, they are not life-threatening.

‘However, a small percentage of people may develop symptoms that are not just at the sting site.

‘In such instances, there may be difficulty in breathing and/or a drop in blood pressure, and/or problems with circulation which result in feeling dizzy or faint, collapsing and even losing consciousness.’

What to do if someone has an anaphylactic reaction:

  • Allergy UK advises to lie the person flat with legs raised – If breathing is difficult allow to sit with legs raised. Do not stand the person up.
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance and state anaphylaxis to get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Stay with the person having the allergic reaction until medical help arrives. 
  • If asthma and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction occur at the same time then adrenaline should always be given first and the asthma relief inhaler afterwards.
  • In the case of a severe allergic reaction in an individual who has been prescribed an AAI pen (auto adrenaline injector), this should be administered as soon as possible. If there is no improvement after five minutes and another adrenaline autoinjector (AAI) is available, a second dose of adrenaline can be given ideally in the other leg. 
  • If a person has an allergic reaction that requires adrenaline, they should always go to hospital for further observation and treatment.

As well as the above, Amena says you could also begin to cough and your tongue may begin to swell. Bizarrely your voice could even change too, while you could struggle to swallow.

Again, this is an anaphylactic reaction which is the most life-threatening and can also be caused by penicillin and food allergies.

Amena continues: ‘For those with an allergy to pollen – hay fever – the symptoms can really affect quality of life. These include itchy eyes, nose, ears, throat, palate, sneezing, runny and/or blocked nose and sneezing.

‘These can usually be managed without emergency medical attention, however, poorly managed symptoms of hay fever can result in difficulty breathing and even provoke an asthma attack.

‘When this happens, it is important to seek urgent medical attention.’

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