My one year old son had an anaphylactic allergic reaction last month. His throat swelled up. He couldn’t breath. He was administered adrenalin and rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
My son is not a hypochondriac. He suffers from life-threatening allergies that he and I have to manage daily.
So I am very disappointed to see Beth’s story line on Friday 8th August where her allergic reaction was treated flippantly and inaccurately. The conversations implied that she was overacting and imagining symptoms.
Beth: “I can feel my throat swelling up. I can’t breathe.”
Chesney: “You’re a complete hypochondriac.”
GP: “The rash will disappear in a few hours. The hypochondria might be harder to shift.”
Later on in the episode two more interactions between Kirk and Chesney reinforce the idea that allergic reactions are not serious.
Kirk: “It was life threatening
Chesney: “It was an allergic reaction…”
Kirk: “If anything happened to her…”
Chesney: “It was an allergic reaction. I don’t think she was in any real danger.”
Allergies can be fatal. 20-30 people a year die from an anaphylactic reaction and thousands more live with the daily threat of a life threatening episode.
I know Coronation Street has successfully covered sensitive issues such as cancer and assisted suicide successfully in the past; so I am even more disappointed to see the irresponsible nature in which allergies have been approached. This only serves to reinforce people’s misperceptions and fuel the uninformed prejudice that people coping with allergies have to face.
I hope that you will think more carefully about your representation of this subject and address it with more accuracy in the future.
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*If you would like to complain about ITV’s coverage of this issue please contact Ofcom*