Bernard Ward from Northern Ireland suffers from a condition that causes his skin to react dangerously when anything cold comes into contact with it. And that really does mean anything at all – a cool can of soda right through to a freak winter downpour.
His outbreaks of hives are so bad that he runs the risk of falling into anaphylactic shock, which has the potential to be fatal.
Mr. Ward was not however born with the rare condition, but is thought to have developed it after being exposed to temperatures of -10 degrees a couple of years ago for a prolonged period of time. Such is the severity of his sensitivity to the cold that he always wears multiple layers in his own home and rarely goes outdoors.
He even has to avoid any indoor areas that are air conditioned as the cool air also has the potential to trigger his allergy.
“I dread winter coming – I know most people don’t like the cold but it could be deadly for me,” Mr. Ward told the Telegraph in the UK.
“It costs me a fortune in heating bills and thick clothes, but I have no other choice,”
“Since I developed the allergy, it’s totally changed my life. A simple night out with my mates down the pub is out of the question.”
The condition first came to his attention when he began to break out in itchy and angry skin patches while on the daily ride to work during winter.
“Every time I was waiting for the bus my hands began to itch really badly, and burn as if I had put them in a pile of nettles,”
“I thought nothing of it and got on with things and hoped it would go away,”
“My GP said it was probably a reaction to washing powder, or something I’d eaten, but in February 2012, I was on a three-week course in Scotland,”
“On my first evening there, it was about -10, and I was waiting on a bus to take me back to the hotel and I wasn’t wearing any gloves and I was carrying bags,”
“After a few minutes my fingers and hands began to swell up so badly I couldn’t bend them,”
“My face also was burning and itching and I was wheezing. I got to the hotel room, after changing out of my clothes into something warmer, I noticed my thighs had swollen and were covered in huge welts too.”
He then went on to discuss his life following diagnosis,
“Initially it got me very down and anxious. I could not understand what was happening to me and I kept thinking that it would go away soon,”
“I gradually stopped doing everyday things like going to the gym as the air conditioning affected me,”
“I could no longer play football as playing outdoors gave me bad reactions and socialising became a nightmare,”
“Having cold drinks made my throat swell and even holding a pint of cold beer on a night out made my hand swell up,”
“I have to wear ridiculous amounts of clothes in the winter,”
“Financially this can be tough too with transport costs, clothing costs and fuel bills.”