I’m allergic to strong emotions – sweating, laughing or crying could kill me and so could my hair due to rare condition

A GYMNAST who is allergic to everything could die from strong emotions, sweating or laughing too hard – even her own hair could kill her.

Natasha Coates from Nottingham suffers from a rare disorder meaning she suffers from itching, swelling and migraines on a daily basis – and has been hospitalised over 500 times.

Natasha Coates, who suffers from a rare condition, said she planned her funeral at 20 - with a Beyonce song

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Natasha Coates, who suffers from a rare condition, said she planned her funeral at 20 – with a Beyonce songCredit: Instagram
But the 27-year-old refuses to let her condition get in the way of her gymnastics

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But the 27-year-old refuses to let her condition get in the way of her gymnasticsCredit: Instagram
She said she feels like a "ticking time bomb" because she could have an allergic reaction so easily

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She said she feels like a “ticking time bomb” because she could have an allergic reaction so easilyCredit: Instagram

The immunological disorder called mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) causes Natasha’s body to have extreme allergic reactions, which can be set off by anything as simple as sweating or laughing.

Triggers can vary from person to person depending on the severity of their condition and can change over time.

But for the gymnast there are so many triggers that she never knows where her next reaction is coming from.

Natasha had her first anaphylactic shock at 18, when she was told it was a “once in a lifetime reaction” – but eight years later she still has to sleep with her EpiPen next to her and train all her friends how to use it.

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“Keeping myself alive is a full-time job,” the 27-year-old told the Mirror.

She added that she planned her own funeral at 20 as she feels like a “ticking time bomb”.

Natasha told the paper she nearly died on a night out with friends a couple of years ago after going into anaphylactic shock from a laughing fit.

When her hair grows her scalp develops agonising blisters and burns – and even when she cries the tears cause a red rash down her face.

She said certain foods can be fine one day and almost kill her the next.

“I’m allergic to strong emotions,” Natasha said, “Any changes to my body’s status quo – whether I’m laughing, crying, sad or stressed – can cause a chemical reaction.

“It happens almost every day and I’ve been hospitalised more than 500 times.

“When I feel it starting, I get upset and try to suppress it, otherwise I’ll have a worse reaction – it’s a vicious circle.”

She added: “I’m allergic to body sprays, cleaning products and scented candles.

“Eating is still a bit like Russian roulette. A food that’s fine today could give me an allergic reaction tomorrow.”

The gymnast has battled with the bizarre condition for years and lives in fear of her next reaction.

After the first anaphylactic shock, she was terrified.

She said: “It was modern-day torture and beyond frightening, as I never knew what would cause a reaction next. The medics were just as baffled as me.”

But over the course of the frightening illness and countless hospital trips, Natasha has had to learn to live with the condition.

I feel like a ticking time bomb.

Natasha Coates

She said: “All my friends and family are EpiPen-trained.

“It’s frightening for my family, wondering which reaction is going to be my last. I feel like a ticking time bomb.

“I’ve had to accept that this condition could kill me, but I took some control back when I planned my funeral aged 20.

“I know that’s not normal but by being organised, I know I’m having a Beyoncé song!”

She added: “I do have to avoid social situations sometimes. I go on a risk versus reward basis.

“I study menus beforehand, take extra medication and hope for the best.

“I need to know where the nearest hospital is, that I’ve got my care plan and enough medication.”

Despite the daily demands of keeping herself safe, the brave young woman said her condition won’t get in the way of her passion – gymnastics.

Natasha is an elite disability gymnast, has competed in in the Disability British Championships and has been ranked number one in the UK.

She has been doing gymnastics since the age of eight recreationally, but started competing with disabled athletes after she developed her condition.

“The allergic reactions will happen anyway, even if I’m sitting at home doing nothing, so I may as well be out living my life,” she said.

“I can cope with anything but I’m allowed to have bad days. There’s no point pretending it’s OK – because I’m not OK with it.

“If I could click my fingers and be cured, I’d do it instantly. Keeping myself alive is a full-time job.”

WHAT IS MAST CELL ACTIVATION SYNDROME?

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) causes a person’s body to have adverse reactions to specific triggers.
Triggers can vary from person to person depending on the severity of their condition and can change over time.
It is caused when the mast cells – a type of blood cell – in the body react to triggers by releasing chemicals like histamine that causes an allergic reaction.
Triggers can include food, exercise, perfumes and fragrances and stress.
Many sufferers struggle to identify their triggers because they can change and new triggers can develop for many years.
The onset of the condition is often sudden and can affect children and adults.
There is no known cure for the condition.

Natasha doesn't let her condition keep her from doing what she loves

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Natasha doesn’t let her condition keep her from doing what she lovesCredit: Instagram
She said she's been hospitalised over 500 times

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She said she’s been hospitalised over 500 timesCredit: Barcroft Media
The 27-year-old had her first anaphylactic shock at 18 and hoped it would be her last

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The 27-year-old had her first anaphylactic shock at 18 and hoped it would be her lastCredit: Barcroft Media
But the brave woman now sleeps with her EpiPen next to her bed in case of emergencies

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But the brave woman now sleeps with her EpiPen next to her bed in case of emergenciesCredit: Barcroft Media
She said keeping herself alive is a full-time job

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She said keeping herself alive is a full-time jobCredit: Barcroft Media

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