- Brianie Copeland, 17, from County Durham has multiple allergies
- They include dust, manmade fibres, grass, pollen and even strong light
- As a result, she has severe ezecma, dermatitis, arthritis and asthma
07:08 EST, 29 December 2013
08:39 EST, 29 December 2013
Allergic to everything from dust to grass and even clothes, life for Brianie Copeland, 17, isn’t always easy.
The teenager, from County Durham, spends her
days swathed in bandages thanks to the painful eczema, dermatitis,
arthritis and asthma caused by her multiple allergies.
And her condition is often made worse by coming into contact with items that most of us handle each day, including cleaning products, strong light and even heat from the radiator.
Trapped: Brianie Copeland, 17, is virtually a prisoner in her own home because of her rare condition
As a result, the teenager is virtually a prisoner in her own home as exposure to the outside world leaves her with blistered skin and painful rashes.
‘I have to apply cream two or three times a day and I wear bandages every night to keep the cream on my skin,’ explains Brianie.
‘I also have to have a bath at least twice a day. If I don’t my skin cracks and dries out. It is really painful.’
But that’s not all. Eating is also a minefield for the teenager, who has to follow a severely limited diet in order to avoid dangerous reactions.
‘I have to avoid certain foods such as diary products, wheat, soya, nuts and oats,’ she explains. ‘If I eat them my throat starts to swell up and close. I also take ten tablets a day.’
Thanks to her allergies, Brianie, who has three sisters and three brothers, is unable to lead a normal life and will never be able to wear make-up or get a tattoo or piercing.
Painful: Thanks to her condition, Brianie spends her life swathed in bandages and suffers agonising blisters
Difficult: Because of her allergies, Brianie is unable to lead a normal teenage life but says she’s happy
Lifelong: Brianie has had the condition all her life and is now hoping to make a career helping children
And despite living on the edge of some of the UK’s most spectacular countryside, Brianie is forced to give local farms a wide berth because she is allergic to all animals, while pollen makes her ill.
‘I have always wanted to go to a farm but I know if I go I will react badly,’ added Brianie. ‘The nutrients from my skin are gone and my immune system is broken, so while other peoples bodies fight off colds in a couple of days mine takes a couple of weeks.
‘My brothers and sisters all help me. If we go out for a meal they always enquire about the ingredients and we avoid going anywhere where there is pollen.
‘They often say they wish they could be in my shoes for a day so they can understand what it was like.’
But despite the pain and the lack of a cure for her rare condition, the brave 17-year-old insists that she wouldn’t want to live any other way.
She left school with excellent GCSE’s and is now studying childcare at New College Durham in the hope of working with children with special needs.
‘I grew up wearing bandages constantly so I don’t know any different,’ she explained. ‘People say to me if there was a cure would I take it but I don’t think I would.
‘Although it is hard sometimes, I like being different to everyone else. I wouldn’t have it any other way.’