Love Island star Jack Fowler's 'near death' on flight was caused by nut allergy

Jack Fowler
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Getty Images)

Love Island hunk Jack Fowler opened up about a terrifying ordeal he experienced mid-flight. The reality TV star and DJ, who rose to fame on the hit ITV2 series, revealed he had a 'near-fatal' allergic reaction after consuming a curry with cashew nuts in it.

Jack took to Instagram to recount the harrowing experience to his 1.1 million fans. He claimed that despite repeatedly informing the cabin crew of his severe nut allergy, he was still served the dish on an Emirates flight.

In an Instagram post, Jack recalled: "Trusting my flight attendant I began to eat the chicken curry. Immediately my throat closed up and breathing became extremely difficult."

He continued, detailing the frightening moment: "I told a flight attendant I couldn't breathe and if there was nuts in the food. I was told that there were no nuts in the chicken curry AGAIN. It was only when my friend demanded to see the food menu for the first time did I realise it was a 'Creamy Cashew Nut chicken Curry'."

The Love Island alum shared intense footage of himself using an Epi-pen and posted a snap of a flight attendant supplying him with oxygen. He also uploaded a photo of the menu listing the Shahi Chicken Korma Curry, which contained the allergen, reports Wales Online.

Jack expressed the severity of the situation, saying: "This left me with the real possibility of dying on the plane as I knew I needed emergency treatment immediately."

He went on to reveal the extent of the medical intervention he required, stating: "I was given five tanks of Oxygen, as well as administering my Adrenaline Pen (Epi Pen)."

"I told the flight supervisor 'If you don't land this plane soon, I will die on this plane'. This then lead to the pilot speeding up the journey. Once we landed I was rushed into Dubai's airport hospital where I continued treatment."

What is a peanut allergy?

Peanut allergies aren't exactly rare in the UK. Around 2.4 million adults have clinically confirmed food allergies, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The most common culprits are peanuts and tree nuts, like hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. Interestingly. Eating even a minuscule amount of peanut can kickstart a reaction in those with a severe peanut allergy or peanut butter allergy.

Almost an third of Brits suffer from some form of food sensitivity too.

What are the symptoms?

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction. It involves swelling of the throat, airway constriction, and an alarming drop in blood pressure, which can lead to shock.

The symptoms of peanut allergies can vary widely among individuals. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Hoarseness, wheezing, tightness in the throat or trouble breathing

  • Sneezing or coughing

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth

  • Hives

  • Swelling around the eyes

  • Itchy or watery eyes

  • Dizziness or fainting

  • Low blood pressure

  • Stomach ache

  • Diarrhoea

  • Vomiting

  • Anxiety about worsening symptoms

What causes these allergies?

Peanut allergies usually crop up due to a misfire by the immune system. It mistakenly identifies the proteins in peanuts as harmful, leading to an excessive reaction that can be harmful to the body.

Most people discover their allergies after a minor reaction during their early childhood. If you think your child may have a peanut allergy, consult your doctor.

Why is a peanut allergy so serious?

Peanuts can cause a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Compared with other food allergies, peanut allergy is associated with higher rates of accidental exposure, severe reactions and potentially fatal anaphylaxis.

Approximately 7%–14% of patients with a peanut allergy experience accidental peanut exposure annually. And one‐third to one‐half may experience anaphylaxis, although fatalities are rare.

Tree nuts and peanuts both contain various allergens, each with its own distinct shape that is recognized differently by the immune system. The greater the number of allergens present in a particular food, the stronger its potency.

What treatment is available?

There is currently no known cure for peanut allergies. Individuals with this condition must exercise extreme caution to prevent any exposure to peanuts.

This can prove to be difficult, as peanuts are commonly found in various culinary dishes and food products. Sometimes it can make its way into a meal in unexpected forms, like as a thickening agent in soups and sauces.

Individuals who have peanut allergies are usually recommended to have their own peanut allergy treatment ready, which involves using a medication known as epinephrine. Administered through a device called an Epi Pen, this medication is injected into the bloodstream.

It's crucial to use the EpiPen immediately if the person starts struggling to breathe or exhibits symptoms of an allergic reaction in two separate areas of the body, such as hives and vomiting. Epinephrine can halt a severe allergic reaction if administered quickly, but it's still vital to seek immediate medical help.

How can you prevent a peanut allergy reaction?

To steer clear of an allergic reaction, here are some steps you should take:

  • Carefully read the ingredients on all packaged foods

  • Talk to a waiter about your peanut allergy

  • Only consume food if you can be assured it doesn’t contain peanuts and hasn’t come into contact with any peanut protein

  • Eat before attending parties where the ingredients in shared dishes are unknown

Emirates has been approached for comment.