Family may be forced to move country because their six-year-old is 'allergic to the cold'
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A family may be forced to move country because their six-year-old daughter’s rare condition means she is allergic to the cold, thanks to a rare condition.
Kelsey Quant has chronic cold urticaria, a rare skin condition that occurs after exposure to the cold.
She cannot be outside for more than a few minutes without breaking out in painful hives, while her throat dangerously starts to swell.
Mum Kimberley, 33, says the allergy is so severe that Kelsey has to be completely wrapped up and run to the car, or her exposed skin soon becomes covered in blisters.
She and husband Freddie, 32, are now considering moving to the Mediterranean out of fear the cold could send their daughter into potentially deadly anaphylactic shock.
They are also spending a 'horrendous' £18 on energy bills each day in a bid to keep the youngster warm enough, and even keep her home from school during the winter.
Kimberley, from Exeter, Devon, said: "She could die. With the current statistic, only two percent of people with the condition get anaphylaxis but due to her getting throat swelling, the specialist thinks she'll be one of the unlucky ones.
"At this time of year, there's nothing I can do. It's way too cold for her to go out. We keep her home from school because it's too cold for her to go in and it's too much for the school without disrupting other pupils.”
And while sisters Ella, 15, Leah, 13, and Freya, eight, have been out playing in the snow, Kelsey has had to stay indoors.
Kimberley, a nurse, continued: "We've considered moving out of the UK. Every year we take a holiday abroad for a week and we don't need to give her any medication and she doesn't react. I'd love to move to Cyprus.
"The other part we're thinking about is the health care. She might not get over there what she gets over here.
"It's the best of both evils because if we do move abroad, she might not get the healthcare she needs but if we don't, she'll definitely have reactions. When it's got to the stage she's needed an epi pen we don't know whether to take the risk.
"I absolutely dread this time of year. My energy bills are horrendous. I have to keep the heating on 26 degrees 24/7. My electric bill in one day is £18. It's horrendous.
"It's something we have to do, we can't let her suffer. It's either that or have a very ill child."
Kelsey started showing signs of an allergic reaction when she was just a day old, and was in and out of hospital 52 times before she'd turned two.
She has an epipen in case she goes into anaphylactic shock, and also takes anti histamines and medication to open her airways.
Kimberley said doctors were left baffled by what could be causing the reaction.
It wasn’t until Kelsey was three that they finally got a diagnosis, after a nurse noticed she started to react after popping outside to the hospital play area.
She said: "She gets a systemic rash, blisters and welts all over her body and it affected her chest. Her hives go a scalded red colour, her cheeks go red like they've been slapped then she starts blistering.
"She gets it from head to toe and there's no hiding it. We thought it would get better and it could have been a new-born thing.
"She was reacting to something and we didn't know what. It's been a bit of a nightmare.
"Something that sticks with us to this day is when we tell people she's allergic to the cold, you can tell by their faces that they want to laugh. That's the exact reaction that we had. It sounds stupid."
The family are now sharing Kelsey’s story to raise awareness of the condition, as they say the biggest battle is convincing people that it's real.
Kimberley said: "We went to Cornwall last summer and she looked like she had been scalded on her body because of a reaction.
"People were shouting at me that we should have put sun cream on her. We get abuse all the time from people who just assume that we haven't covered her in suncream.
"People can be so ignorant to it. That's the worst thing about it. I have a blue badge to park close to the school door to get her straight in the warm. I've had sh*t from people for that.
"That's the nature of it not being known about much."