Young tot with fatal allergy to the cold is spending her winter indoors – she’s even missing out on meeting Santa Clause
A beautiful little girl who has a deadly allergy to the cold is having to spend her winter indoors – she is even missing out on meeting SANTA.
Niamh Powell, four, from Telford, Shrops, suffers from Cold Urticaria (CU) which causes a painful rash to cover her skin when it’s exposed to cold temperatures.
Her worried mum, Laura, 31, spent hours researching her symptoms online after doctors were left baffled by her condition.
It took six months of tests before Niamh was diagnosed with CU.
The life-changing condition means that she now risks a fatal allergic reaction if she’s exposed to the cold for long periods.
But instead of dwelling on her daughter’s diagnosis, Laura is now trying to raise awareness for the rare condition.
Laura said: “Before she was diagnosed I was unknowingly risking Niamh’s life every time we stepped outdoors.
“Now I have to ensure she is head-to-toe in warm clothes otherwise she could have a severe allergic reaction.
“I haven’t been able to take Niamh to see Santa as it could be life threatening if she had to wait in the cold beforehand.
“We can’t go swimming either as the cold water can also cause a fatal allergic reaction.
“It took me months before my little girl was diagnosed but it was such a relief when she was.
“I was finally able to prevent her from being in pain as the rash is similiar to a stinging-nettle.”
Niamh was diagnosed with CU 18-months-ago and this will be her second winter with the condition.
Laura added: “Before Niamh’s diagnosis I was convinced her hives were due to an allergy to a certain type of food or washing product, I had no idea Cold Urticaria existed.
“I’m so thankful we have answers now as it can be deadly if undiagnosed as the allergy can cause anaphylactic shock.”
Niamh is now at nursery and due to her condition isn’t able to play outside with her friends.
Laura said: “Even if she wears a coat outdoor the cold will still affect her hands and face.
“It is safer for her to just stay inside as if she was exposed for too long it could be fatal.”
Niamh’s diagnosis came after Laura researched her condition online.
She found a way to test for CU which involved putting an ice pack on her daughter’s arm to see if hives developed.
Laura added: “I felt cruel for putting Niamh through any discomfort but I knew we needed to get to the bottom of it.
“Her hives came out straight away so when I visited the doctors and told them about the ice pack test, she was diagnosed fairly quickly.
“I had visited the doctors a number of times but by the time I got there Niamh’s rash had disappeared.
“I want other parents to read our story so hopefully their child will be diagnosed a bit quicker than Niamh.”
The winter months are particularly difficult for Laura and Niamh but CU does still affect them in the summer months too.
Laura added: “We went to Cornwall on holiday this summer and she wanted to paddle her feet in the sea but even though it was warm outside she still got a blotchy painful rash on her feet as they were exposed to a colder temperature.
“The same thing happens if Niamh holds an ice cream, the hives will start on her hands.”
Niamh developed the condition at a young age but doctors don’t believe she will grow out of it when she gets older.
Laura said: “CU isn’t a childhood condition and I think Niamh will have it throughout her whole life.
“But I know with the right management she will go on to live a normal life and I know she won’t let it hold her back.”