By James Somper
A woman who suffers from a rare skin condition that means she’s allergic to going on dates with her boyfriend.
Laura Weaver, 24, is allergic to everything from dust to aftershave and can’t be out in the hot or cold for more than 10 minutes without having her horrific eczema flare up.
The 24-year-old from Hereford suffers from severe atopic eczema – and means that she and boyfriend James Hill, factory worker, 35, have never been out for a romantic meal in a restaurant or a weekend away.
James is banned from buying flowers or perfume for Laura, and even cooking his girlfriend a meal could end in disaster.
Instead, caring James shows his affection for Laura by hoovering the house from top to bottom every day and dusting every nook and cranny to stop his other half from having a horrific allergic reaction.
Once the house is spotlessly clean, the pair can snuggle up on the sofa together to watch a film – as long as James isn’t wearing any aftershave or deodorant, that could trigger Laura’s allergies.
Laura, a former customer service worker, said: “It’s affected my life in just about every way.
“If we go on a weekend away we can’t stay in a hotel because I’m allergic to the materials in the linen. If we want to go on a date, we’re very restricted to where we can go for food.
“Going out in a crowd can be a problem because any fumes or deodorant people are wearing could set me off.
“It makes me feel pretty rubbish, I feel useless to my family, useless to James.
“If it’s too hot or cold I can’t go out. The longest I’ve had to stay in the house for has been nearly two weeks.”
Laura, who was born with the condition has spent a lifetime applying seven different types of cream to her body in order to keep the crippling eczema at bay.
When Laura and James go on holiday they can’t stay in a hotel because Laura could have a reaction to the bed linen and James has to dust his Hereford home he shares with Laura from top to bottom every day.
Laura has to buy a new pair of pyjamas and bed sheets each month because they become drenched in her various creams that stop her skin from cracking.
Her skin will flare up even if she’s exposed to the smallest amount of perfume or deodorant and if the temperature of a room is too high she gets massive red rashes.
The couple, who have been in a relationship for over two years have said that they have made their relationship work despite Laura’s condition and have adapted their home to Laura’s needs.
Laura said: “Being with James has changed my confidence and how I’ve seen myself over the last two years but that doesn’t change the fact that I hate the way I look.
“We sometimes go to the cinema because it’s nice and safe but we try and go when it’s quiet so no one will sit next to me and set me off.
“When we go out we have to take out all the creams in a bag.
“We only go to the pubs and eat the same safe food that we know as it’s not worth the risk.
James said: “It’s been a bit tricky at times and we’ve had to change things around the house.
“We have to make sure the house is cleaned properly.
“I tend to hoover the whole house top to bottom every other day and have to dust the house the whole day.
“Everyone has body issue images and it does get in the way sometimes.
“Despite everything and the challenges we face, I’m so proud of Laura and love her just the way she is.”
8 things the couple can’t do:
1. Can’t stay in hotels
2. Can’t do sports
3. Can’t go to certain restaurants
4. Can’t go to the beach
5. Can’t swim in the sea
6. No flowers
7. No perfume
8. Can’t go in crowded public place