An Aberdeenshire mum could only watch in horror as her five-year-old son’s lips blistered and face grew red seconds after taking his first taste of peanut butter.
James Dempster says he felt his tongue become “fat” as he struggled to breathe after swallowing the snack.
His mum, Alison Dempster, learned on that day that her son was severely allergic to peanuts and family life has never been the same since.
Even traces of peanut in the air could cause James to suffer a reaction, so he has to be constantly on his guard.
And his harrowing experience as a five-year-old later caused the youngster mental problems, as he developed a fear of eating about a year after going into anaphylaxis.
The brave Kintore Primary School pupil, who is now 10, and his mum are speaking out in an effort to make people aware of just how dangerous allergies can be.
James said: “That time, I had tingly lips which felt like really severe pins and needles and it became tricky to breathe because my tongue got fat.”
Mrs Dempster raced her son to a nearby GP clinic in their Aberdeenshire village, where he was treated.
She added: “Within seconds of tasting it he was blistered and swollen, it was scary for him and for us.
“The recommendation is not to give children peanuts before they are five, and he had got that far without any problems.”
Mrs Dempster said she regularly worries about her son’s welfare, especially with a week-long school trip approaching later this year.
She said: “Even being in the same room as peanuts can cause James to react, and that will be outwith my control.
“James could have a reaction just by touching something that has been handled by another child with traces of peanut on their hands.
“But I think we have prepared him well for a life of allergy.”
The keen cyclist, whose favourite thing about school is PE, says education is his best defence.
James said: “I have helped people learn how serious it is by explaining what physically happens to me, as some people don’t understand.”
He has also taught classmates about the EpiPen injection he carries to relieve the symptoms of anaphylaxis should he suffer a reaction.