Home » World News » My ‘butterfly skin’ agony as greedy Brits have stockpiled all the paracetamol amid coronavirus outbreak – The Sun
My ‘butterfly skin’ agony as greedy Brits have stockpiled all the paracetamol amid coronavirus outbreak – The Sun
FOR the ordinary, healthy Brit, catching coronavirus is a worrying thought. Within just a few months, the disease has ravaged the world, killing nearly 8,000 in the UK alone.
Yet for Britain's 1.5 million most vulnerable – like me – it's a truly terrifying, anxiety attack-inducing prospect, made worse by the countless stockpilers and sunseekers who are selfishly risking our lives.
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I was born with 'butterfly skin', or epidermolysis bulllosa (EB), an extremely rare, life-threatening condition that makes my skin blister at the slightest knock and causes second-degree burns across my body.
I'm in agonising pain every single day, and have been mistaken for an acid attack victim.
Selfish Brits stockpiling vital drugs
Paracetamol is my only relief, taken every four hours, in set doses. It's the only medication I can use: strong painkillers trigger hives on my skin, which leaves me with red, unbearably itchy areas.
Yet now, for the first time in my life, I've been unable to get paracetamol from my NHS pharmacy.
This is partly thanks to coronavirus panic-buyers, who have depleted supplies at chemists around the country. And it's the same at high street pharmacies, where I've been able to get paracetamol in the past.
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While I know some people with chronic illnesses will be stocking up on paracetamol out of fear – and I don't blame them – other, healthy Brits are stockpiling boxes in their medicine cabinets 'just in case'.
To them, it might seem like a sensible idea in case they come down with mild illness in the future.
But to me, it's utterly selfish to buy more of the drugs than they need.
It's yet another worry for people like me living with agonising conditions at this unprecedented time.
Blistering 'butterfly skin'
I was diagnosed with the most severe type of EB – Recessive Dystrophic EB – shortly after my birth 32 years ago. My family knew something was seriously wrong when I was born with no skin on my foot.
A specialist dermatologist confirmed the condition, which is caused by a lack of collagen protein in the skin. It's incurable, progressive, and puts me at a greater risk of developing skin cancer – which I did last year.
Because of my blisters and burns, life can be hard.
My hands are scarred and 'mittened', with my fingers fused together by scar tissue. Whenever one of my skin wounds heals, it quickly breaks down again, so I have regular bandage changes every day.
The corneas of my eyes and the inside of my throat are affected, too.
Sometimes, I struggle with painful, blurry eyes, or find it difficult to eat.
Eating can be difficult due to blisters in my throat… there's been more than one frightening occasion where I've got food stuck in my throat in a restaurant
There has been more than one frightening occasion where I've got food stuck in my throat in a restaurant and had to run to the bathroom to cough it up, before coming back as if nothing's happened.
Fortunately, I have a great group of friends who have always supported me.
Over the years, I have got used to – and enjoy – my unpredictable life. I work as a celebrity journalist and have interviewed the likes of Michael B Jordan, Samuel L Jackson, and Spiderman star Tom Holland.I have also never let my blistered feet stop me going out with friends: I even wear heels.Yet everything has changed with the coronavirus outbreak: now, I have fear instilled in me.