'Eating fruit could kill me': Hull woman speaks of rare food intolerance (video)
An east Hull woman with a rare food intolerance has revealed eating fruit could kill her.
Charlotte Jefferson has been hospitalised on several occasions after eating foods such as tomatoes and pears.
When she ate a pear, she was rushed to hospital itching and coughing up blood.
After she ate some spices, her throat swelled up so much she could not breathe.
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On another occasion, when she had a tomato, Charlotte suffered from a severe headache, was bringing up blood and was delirious and disorientated.
Charlotte, 25, said: "I've been hospitalised so many times because of my condition.
"I'm worried if I had a pear or spice again, it could kill me."
Charlotte, who is mother to three-year-old Warren, has now been diagnosed with salicylate intolerance.
The condition means her body is unable to handle more than a certain amount of salicyates – which are found in fruits and a lot of other foods in varying degrees.
She has shown symptoms of the disorder for years, but was only diagnosed a few months ago.
Charlotte's long list of foods to avoid includes shellfish, canned and smoked meats, all fruits except bananas, broccoli, cucumber, pie fillings, vegetable oil, yoghurt, jam, fruit drinks, fizzy drinks, table sauces such as ketchup, most herbs and spices, biscuits, sweets and custard.
Before her diagnosis, Charlotte often ate foods she was intolerant to and had to phone for an ambulance to rush her to hospital.
She now struggles to make meals for herself, knowing that most ingredients could be life-threatening.
Charlotte, who lives in east Hull's Bilton Grange area, said: "It started when I was younger and my mum says as a baby I would projectile vomit.
"She had to keep changing my milk to find something I could have.
"Then as a child, I seemed to be okay, until I was about 15.
"I started getting really bad headaches and being sick.
"When I had cola it would bubble back up into my mouth, like when you shake up a can.
"If I go out with my friends, I have to phone the restaurant in advance and ask lots of questions about what they cook things in and how food is prepared.
"So many things are bad for me. Often I'll just have a bowl of porridge because it is the easiest thing to make.
"I'll sit having tea with Warren and he will say 'Mummy, why are you having breakfast?'"
Charlotte reacts differently to different foods – anything from a bad itch and headache to coughing up blood and suffering a swollen throat.
She has thoroughly researched the condition on the internet, but the only place she can find currently investigating the disorder is an allergy clinic in New Zealand.
She said: "I've been told I can be referred to a dietician, but different people suffer from intolerance to different foods.
"I was told I could eat pears – but one pear almost killed me.
"I'm suffering from depression because I cannot lead a normal life."
Charlotte says she contacted the Mail in the hope a specialist based in the North East will be able to help her, or other sufferers may get in touch to say how it has affected them.
She said: "I hope someone who reads this article will be able to help me.
"I have so many unanswered questions.
"Do they live a long life? Do they develop cancer because they aren't having the proper foods? Is there a special trick they use to cope? Can we get a support group set up so we can share opinions and ideas?
"It is hard to find answers."
Anyone who can help can call the Mail on 01482 315154.