Woman allergic to cold warns her heating bill could more than triple
A woman with a cold allergy is forced to keep her heating on 24/7 – and has admitted she will soon be ‘too scared’ to check her energy bills due to huge price hikes.
Sam Newland, 50, keeps his house at a constant 30 degrees throughout the fall and winter – and sometimes during the cold summer months too, but it is expected that in 2022 the UK energy bills could rise by more than 50%.
Sam, who uses So Energy for her heating, has suffered from cold hives since returning to the UK from Singapore when she was just 13.
Doctors initially had no idea why she was developing the rashes and welts and it took them two years to diagnose the cause as a cold temperature allergy.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for cold urticaria, and Sam can only manage her condition with antihistamines while trying to keep her body at a warm temperature.
Sam, a PA, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, explained: ”All I can do is keep the house warm, but not too hot, and make sure I have my meds on me all the time. .
”If I start running low on the antihistamine, I can get very stressed and have tears in my eyes.
“On top of that, I’m now very worried about how we’re going to afford a huge increase in bills every month.
”I dread to think our heating bills will go up until now.
”We were paying £48 a month but I spoke to our supplier and they are now asking us to pay £80.
”They even warned that there was a possibility it could be as high as £160 a month.
“My husband takes care of most of the utility administrators and he said maybe we should start a fire and work from the living room.
”I was desperate to travel to Tenerife to scatter the ashes of my mother and father-in-law as it was their last wish, but I fear now that we will have to make serious cutbacks and may be not be able to afford it. goes.”
In addition to worrying about rising bills, Sam also has to constantly monitor his temperature.
“People often don’t take my condition seriously, they tell me to stop the itch or put on a sweater,” she said.
”It makes me want to scream in frustration because it’s really not that simple.
“It’s a horrible condition. I hate being allergic to cold.
“If I have a flare-up it’s so painful, it itches so much I’ve already drawn blood.”
After being diagnosed as a teenager, Sam – who has flare-ups every few days – set about trying to find treatments to improve her condition.
Symptoms – including itching all over and “huge red spots” – can be triggered by all kinds of cold weather, including humid days or even just sitting on a brick wall.
Since the diagnosis, she has tried several brands of antihistamines – settling on an own supermarket brand of Benadryl in her early twenties.
For other sufferers, she recommends trying a variety of antihistamines to find what works for them.
“Nothing else works,” she said.
“I have to take three now, which is two more than you’re supposed to take in a day, but otherwise they don’t touch the sides.
”They take up to an hour to set up.
“The other thing that can really help is taking a hot bath but of course that’s not always practical.
“It’s been fine since we’ve all been confined and working from home, but not in normal life.
“It’s not great for water bills either.”
Sam, who lives with her husband Andy, 60, a print finisher, predicts her heating bills will double in the coming months – a situation she describes as “terrifying”.
She said: ”I’ve been told before that I should just move abroad, but I can’t afford to retire yet and why should I uproot our whole lives?
“People often say I should just wear lots of layers, but I have to be careful not to get clammy or sweaty because that can also trigger it.
”I really want people to understand how debilitating and painful living with this is.
“Hopefully they’ll have a little more compassion if they come across someone with that and don’t say the wrong thing – which happens all the time.”