Women and families with cold allergies fear for their lives after bill increaseWomen with cold allergies fear for their lives after bill increase
A woman fears that energy price hikes announced last week, which will lead to a 54% rise in gas and electricity bills from April, could kill her due to a rare allergy.
Nyree Cark manifests as painful rashes all over the body – a very painful condition called severe idiopathic cold urticaria.
In severe cases, it can cause anaphylaxis – an extreme allergic reaction that causes the mouth and tongue to swell, reports YorkshireLive.
Nyree said: “I feel like I’m on fire and you can feel the heat on my skin as it revs up.
“Furthermore, you experience pain that feels like an itchy nettle sting – your mouth, throat and tongue swell and you find it hard to breathe and even walk.”
In severe cases of UC, a whole-body reaction (anaphylaxis) may occur, resulting in fainting, rapid heartbeat, swelling of the limbs or torso, and shock (Photo: Jackie Thompson)
Nyree expressed concern about the skyrocketing costs of keeping our homes warm.
She said: “I was very scared because it’s a life and death situation for me and for the other sufferers.
“To put it into perspective, if it was a peanut allergy when the energy bill goes up, you put someone in a room full of peanuts.
“That’s what happens to UC sufferers if that makes sense.”
Nyree is already struggling to keep the lights on, barely getting by on her current salary.
“We’re about to pay our way, but how far can you push your paycheck?” she said.
Nyree says she will need to keep the temperature in her home just above the level at which they trigger her illness – but below the optimal levels where she would be comfortable.
“Normally I keep the heating at 20 degrees, but now I have to keep the house between 16 and 18 degrees to try to save on heating,” she said.
“So at night it’s extra blankets or going to bed earlier to keep warm under the duvet.”
UC symptoms are excruciating (Photo: Jackie Thompson)
Nyree, who is married with two teenagers, said: ‘The choices are to go into debt or live.
Jackie Thompson, a mother and wife based in Scotland, has the same condition.
She says the disease is more than just an allergy: “We’re not just allergic to cold – it’s more than just the fact that our bodies struggle to cope with different temperatures.
“Some of us – myself included – have periods of excessive sweating where the chilled sweat reacts and makes us itch.”
Jackie Thompson received no support and illness, lack of support and back and forth impacted her mental health (Photo: Jackie Thompson)
Jackie has to carry inhalers and tablets to combat a reaction when it occurs.
For Jackie, whose mental health is suffering, rising energy prices are just another worry.
“Rising prices for me are an added burden as I am currently fighting my own battles due to my condition,” she said.
For other families, the burden of illness is daunting.
One woman, who did not want to be named, detailed her battles with two of her children with UC and the massive impact this is having on costs.
She said: “Currently you have to keep the house at a minimum of 20 degrees (including at night) or he develops wheezing and general skin swelling and itching.
“That needs to be increased to 22 degrees if he takes a bath or comes out with hives the second he comes out.”
If the heater was turned off or kept off, her four-year-old son would likely develop a severe reaction.
“Every time I hear the heating turn on, I feel stressed and anxious,” she said.
People who cannot afford the new prices and are forced to turn off the heating will have to live with painful symptoms because these (Photo: Nyree Clark)
And the price increases mean more changes will have to be made, by a family that has already made several changes that have made their lives uncomfortable.
She said: “I work as a children’s nurse and my husband is an assistant manager of a children’s home – rewarding jobs but quite poorly paid.
“I will have to take extra shifts to be able to pay the raises, at least one more per month with the current cost increase, but potentially even more.”
And these additional costs will double as they will be needed for child care expenses as the family spends more time away from home.
She said: “I feel lucky that we have an option where we can keep our son safe at home without cutting back on things like food, but to add an extra shift without incurring childcare costs. that make extra work unnecessary, he will have to be a night shift between my husband’s shifts, which means going at least 36 hours without sleep – keeping him safe will mean stretching me to a dangerous extreme instead. “