A mum-of-two who is allergic to sunlight claims she ‘feels like a vampire’ as exposure to it leaves her covered in painful and itchy hives.
Lesley Bletsoe, 34, was diagnosed with Polymorphic Light Eruption, which causes increased sensitivity to sunlight, at 21, when she came back from a holiday to Belguim covered in painful blisters and rashes.
The stay-at-home mum says she’s forced to jump between shadows when she leaves the house as when there’s no cloud cover, picking up her son, Kaci, 15, from school or just sitting next to the window with daughter, Sophie, three, can leave her in agony.
Lesley, from South Ayrshire, said: “I have to shadow jump and wear long sleeved tops and full-length trousers.
“I feel like a vampire because the minute that the sun touches my skin, I’m in pain.
“I can come out in blisters just from sitting next to the window.
“I’m glutton for punishment so last week I went for a mile long walk to my sister’s house in shorts and by the time I got there, I was covered in blisters and really itchy.
“The walk home was excruciating because my legs were so tight.
“There’s no getting away from it. When the weather is nice, I’m either in pain or sweating from being in a full length outfit.
“Luckily, it doesn’t affect my face.
“Last week I ended up at the GP because one of my friends said it looked like a meningitis rash.
“I usually really suffer between March and August.”
Lesley still goes on holiday so that her children don’t miss out but takes medication and is forced to wear long sleeved clothes.
Around 10 per cent of people in the UK have the condition and there’s no cure for it, but also luckily no evidence of an increased risk of skin cancer.
Lesley was diagnosed 13 years ago while volunteering for the army cadets in Belgium and assumed she was just suffering from prickly heat.
She said: “I was on a battlefield tour and suddenly there were rashes all over my arms.
“It looked like a bad case of chicken pox and it was really sore.
“I went to a pharmacy and they thought it was prickly heat.
“I wasn’t diagnosed until about two years later when it kept coming out in the sun.
“I’m not sure if it’s something to do with my hormones because when I had my son, it went away then when I gave birth to my daughter it came straight back.
“I’ve put a gazebo up in the garden so I can still spend time outside with the children because I don’t want them to miss out.”