Anybody who lives in Britain will know that the next rain shower is rarely too far away. And to most of us, that’s merely an annoyance if we have a barbecue planned or have just had our hair done. But to Emily Payne, from Bournemouth, it can be a matter of life or death.
Emily suffers from a rare condition called cold urticaria, and its impact on her is widespread and devastating. Sudden temperature changes could prove fatal.
If Emily wants to take a shower, she has to make sure she isn’t alone in the house and that she has told someone, she can’t leave the house without an umbrella and she makes sure that she dresses in layers. She has to steer clear of sudden temperature changes so air-conditioning and car heaters are both to be avoided.
It was when Emily was 13 that she noticed she would get a rash when she went out in the cold, which she describes as embarrassing but not too significant. Doctors diagnosed urticaria. Then when she was 16, Emily went in the sea and passed out when she came out. Nobody made the link, and when Emily returned to the sea the next day, she passed out while in the water.
She was rescued but medical experts explained that she was lucky to have survived the anaphylactic shock, and so her life changed forever…