Charlie Wright is one of a growing number of young children who suffer from allergies so severe that they require constant supervision.
The six-year-old from Reddingmuirhead cannot eat or come into contact with any dairy products, and his parents must also be careful what everyday items such as soap or shower gel he uses.
“He can’t be left alone,” said mum Lorraine (36). “He can’t go out and play with other kids, and can’t go to any after-school clubs. His allergies have a massive impact on his life.”
Help is at hand for Charlie, however. His big brother Adam (9), a fellow pupil at St Andrew’s Primary in Falkirk, keeps a watchful eye on him when they are at school.
The boys showed their team spirit on May 16 when they both wore bright orange wigs to school. This wasn’t an act of sartorial rebellion, but a declaration of support for Charlie and others like him.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign, which supports people with severe allergies, organises an orange wig day each year. Members are encouraged to wear the silly wigs to raise awareness and money for the campaign’s work.
In 2010 it was estimated that 40 per cent of UK children have either asthma, eczema, hay fever or a food allergy.
For someone like Charlie, allergies can flare up at any time.
“He’s had a lot of reactions since he started school,” said Lorraine, who works at the Sensory Centre in Camelon.
“We don’t know when it will stop. Most children grow out of milk allergies by the age of five.”
The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK-wide charity that exclusively meets the needs of the growing number of people at risk from severe allergic reactions.
It provides information and support relating to foods and other triggers such as latex, drugs and insect stings.
By working with the food industry, schools and colleges, it aims to create safe environments for all people with allergies.