LIFESTYLE
18/06/2015 08:21 BST | Updated 02/07/2015 16:59 BST

Woman Allergic To The Sun Due To Rare Skin Condition Nicknamed 'Real Life Vampire' By Her Children

Most of us can't wait to get outside during the summer months, but feeling the sun's rays on her skin is something of a nightmare for Laura Martindale.

The 26-year-old suffers from actinic prurigo - a condition that causes her skin to break out in a rash and burn whenever she's exposed to UVA and UVB rays.

Martindale feels as though her skin is melting when she's exposed to sunlight, which has led to her being nicknamed the 'real life vampire' by her six children.

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"I try to lead as normal a life as possible, however it does affect family life - especially in the summer," she told the MailOnline.

"We will never be able to go abroad on a family holiday so we're restricted to the English beaches. I can't even play with the children in the sea as I have to be completely covered up at all times."

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According to the British Association of Dermatologists, actinic prurigo is a rare skin condition affecting less than one in every 1,000 people in the UK.

It can affect sufferers all year round, but most will experience increased symptoms during the summer months.

Martindale's experience of the condition is not unusual. According to the NHS, an itchy or burning rash made up of red spots or lumps is a common symptom of actinic prurigo.

Despite suffering with the rash during the summer for her entire life, Martindale, from St Helens, Merseyside, says she was only diagnosed with actinic prurigo in February of this year.

Before then, she claims doctors misdiagnosed her rash for other skin conditions, such as scabies.

Now, she keeps the curtains closed while she's at home, applies factor 50 suncream every four hours and takes daily doses of antihistamines and vitamin D tablets.

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She's forced to cover up with long clothes whenever she goes outside and avoids going out between the hours of 11am and 3pm.

Sadly, there is no cure for actinic prurigo, but Martindale says she has learned to cope with her symptoms.

"It completely ruins the everyday things I would love to be able to do, such as playing in the garden," she said.

"However, I have a very upbeat attitude, and I'm determined to not let it get the best of me."

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