Meet the mom of three who’s forced to spend winter indoors because she’s fatally allergic to the cold and says the chilling conditions have “ruined her life”.
Kelly Pouw (26), from Ontario in Canada, initially thought the red spots on her thighs was a “heat rash” before discovering she developed an unusual reaction to anything cold.
The 26-year-old has cold-induced urticaria, a condition that means anything chilly from cold air to snow and even drinks can cause an allergic reaction.
“I can pretty much say cold-induced urticaria has ruined my life, and while I’m hoping that it does eventually go away I’ve been told it most likely won’t,” Kelly says.
Whenever something cold touches her skin it causes itchy red hives which can grow up to the size of an “apple” on her skin.
The allergy leaves Kelly with extreme discomfort and can also cause her throat and tongue to swell up. To avoid suffering a fatal anaphylactic shock, the young mom is forced to carry around an Epipen (an epinephrine or adrenaline auto-injector).
“At first it just affected my arms and legs, but now it’s progressed to my hands, neck, ears, and palms of my hands, stomach, my feet, and tongue.
“I have times where I do worry about suffering a severe reaction, but I always carry my Epipen and have even shown my six-year-old daughter how to use it just in case,” says Kelly, who avoids anything cold wherever possible.
Unfortunately, her extreme response to the cold means Kelly is unable to leave her house during winter without multiple layers covering her from head to toe.
“It affects me because I have three little ones who love playing outside in the snow and swimming, and I can’t go with them.
“My reactions are so severe that even when I stepped outside for a few seconds in -23 weather hives appeared in less than a minute.”
Kelly reveals that her extreme reactions prevent her doing certain activities on a daily basis.
“It’s really frustrating not being able to do normal things like having snowball fights or playing in the snow with my kids, they have to wait until my husband is home to do that.
“When I have to go outside to walk my son to the bus stop I have to wear a pair of long johns, three pairs of pants, four shirts, a neck warmer, scarf, mittens and even then it’s still risky.
“I have to cover myself head to toe to stop a reaction and even in my house I have a blanket on nearly all the time.”
The 26-year-old says people often laugh and don’t take her condition seriously, despite the fact that it could be deadly.
“When I tell people about my condition they look at me like I’m crazy and think I’m joking, others have shown sympathy though,” she says.
The limitations of her conditions means that Kellly’s husband, Tyler, often has to do a lot of the outdoor chores and activities with their kids during winter.
“It’s very frustrating, my husband has to do everything.
“There are people all around the world with this condition and children too, it must be even more difficult for them trying to go to school in winter.”
Sources: Magazine Features