A former teacher who suffers from a rare condition cannot leave the house without wearing a face mask – in case germs kill her.
Hannah Evans has to take over 100 tablets, up to 16 IV injections and 16 different painkillers every day, and even sneezing could land her in intensive care.
The 27-year-old suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) and mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) and her life revolves around daily treatments.
MCAD, makes her daily life almost impossible and it has left her with a immune system so vulnerable she must wear a face mask.
She said: ‘Everybody has mast cells in their body, but my body reproduces more and more rather than just reproducing the ones I need, which then causes me to have an extremely high histamine level in my blood.
‘Normal histamine levels are usually four to six. My histamine level is 195.
‘When I catch a cold or a virus, my body release more mast cells rather than putting up a fight.
She added: ‘I’ve had a nose bleed before, which has turned into double pneumonia, which then turned into sepsis.
‘For years, I was too embarrassed to wear a mask, so I’d either just stay in the house or risk going out.
‘Nine times out of ten I would end up becoming very poorly, so I started wearing my mask every time I go out about six months ago.’
Hannah admits that she has had a few negative reactions, although she’s not going to allow that to put her health at risk
She added: ‘I do get embarrassed and avoid eye contact with some people, only because of some bad experiences I’ve had.
‘People stare and look, which doesn’t bother me because it’s a natural human instinct anyway, but I’d rather people talk.
She has now decided to speak out about her plight to encourage others to get talking.
‘I want people to realise it’s not something to be scared of,’ said Hannah. ‘The reason why I want to start raising awareness for immunosuppression is because my body starts attacking itself instead of fighting the infection
‘Someone could sneeze in their hands and then open a door and I could have touched that door.
‘When we’re children, it’s drilled into us to wash your hands after you’ve coughed or sneezed, but when we’re adults we tend to forget.
‘Somebody could be coughing next to me, and they might have a virus that’s only giving them a tickly cough.
‘That virus will end up putting me in intensive care. That’s how extreme it is.’
Hannah has ended up in hospital most years since she was a child, though she hopes her face mask will mean 2018 is different.