Boy, seven, allergic to the cold

Aidan Smith

Aidan Smith

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A BLACKPOOL schoolboy is forced to live as if it is winter every day – because he is allergic to the cold.

Aidan Smith, seven, suffers from cold urticaria – an allergy of cool temperatures – which only six people in the country are known to have.

The seven-year-old is constantly at risk of going in to anaphylactic shock and is never seen outside of his Bispham home without a hat, balaclava, scarf and gloves.

The Westcliff Primary School pupil comes out in hives, or skin rash, if he comes in to contact with conditions below his body temperature.

This prevents him from playing outside with his friends, going on holiday and eating cold food.

Aidan has even had a reaction in the heat of Spain because the cold sweat his body produced was colder than his core temperature.

He said: “I can’t play outside the house with friends and it makes me sad. When it’s cold my mum won’t let me out in the cold and that makes me upset.

“When I play with my friends I run around a bit and get a bit hot, then I take my hat off, but that means I come out in spots.”

Aidan is a keen swimmer but his family has failed to find a public swimming pool with water hotter than 17 degrees.

Aidan added: “I love swimming but can’t do it because of the cold.

“It would make me feel better if I was able to swim, but we can’t find anywhere to go.”

Aidan was diagnosed with the condition four years ago when his mum, Melissa, took Aidan to Blackpool Air Show and noticed he had suffered an allergic reaction from a light breeze.

She now has to carry special auto-injector – or Epi-pen – with her which delivers a dose of epinephrine or adrenaline to avoid or treat the onset of anaphylactic shock.

The 32-year-old said: “He can’t live a normal life.

“It really upsets me but there’s nothing we can do about it, so we just try to make things as fun as possible when we go out. It’s really difficult for him because he can’t go outside and he thinks he has done something wrong when he can’t play with his friends just because it’s a bit cold.”

Aidan has seen 20 specialists about his condition since his diagnosis.

He is also the youngest known person to have the illness in the UK, which is more commonly found in men aged 18 to 24 years old.

His mother added: “It can just be a little breeze in the summer that causes a reaction. He has asthma as well which means it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether he is having an asthma attack or an allergic reaction. He can’t have ice lollies or ice cream and has to brush his teeth with warm water.”

Dr Walter Bottomley, Aidan’s consultant dermatologist at Lytham’s Clifton Hospital for the last three years, said: “Some people have it in a relatively mild or severe form, but we aren’t unfamiliar with it.

“Unfortunately the treatment we have for urticarias isn’t particularly good and the best treatment is to stay out of the cold.

“All I can say is that it seems to go in most people, but you can’t predict how long it’s going to last and you don’t come across adults who have had it all their lives.

“It will go in the end but with some people it takes weeks, sometimes months or even years if they are unlucky, so he has been unfortunate.

n If you have or know of a swimming pool which could be used by Aidan, where the temperature could be raised to allow him to swim, please call Alex Ross on (01253) 361725.