Meet Johanna Watkins: The woman allergic to everything

By News Corp Australia Network, Maria Bervanakis

Johanna preoccupies herself with books and conversations over the phone and online. Photo / Fox 9
Johanna preoccupies herself with books and conversations over the phone and online. Photo / Fox 9

If you think your spring allergy is bad, then spare a thought for Johanna Watkins.

She's allergic to EVERYTHING. Seriously. Even her husband!

The 29-year-old American has been holed up in the master bedroom of her home in Minnesota for about a year now.

Sunlight is blocked from entering the room and it's filled with purifiers to remove contaminants from the air.

Ms Watkins is allergic to food, chemicals, the outdoors, dust and hundreds of other things most of us take for granted. She has what's called "mast cell activation syndrome".

Mast cells in our body release chemicals that instruct our immune system how to react. The problem with Ms Watkins is her cells release the wrong chemicals, to the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Johanna Watkins only leaves her bedroom to see a doctor. Her husband has to wear a mask to drive her there. Photo / Fox 9
Johanna Watkins only leaves her bedroom to see a doctor. Her husband has to wear a mask to drive her there. Photo / Fox 9

Doctors are usually able to treat the disorder but, sadly for Ms watkins, her case is so severe and rare it has not responded to treatment.

Perhaps one of the worst allergies for Ms Watkins is the scent of people - even her husband.

It's forced her husband to live downstairs while she lives upstairs.

"I can't get too close," her husband Scott told Fox 9.

"I can't hug her safely. I can't hug her without hurting her."

The only time Ms Watkins leaves her bedroom is during a medical emergency or to keep a doctor's appointment. But when she gets back she feels drained from exposure to all things that make her sick.

"As soon as that door opens, I can feel it. My body goes into complete attack mode," Ms Watkins said.

"It feels like my body is waging war on itself. My throat automatically tightens. It kind of feels like Darth Vader doing a choke hold."

So how does one preoccupy themselves in their bedroom 24/7?

Books, prayer, phone and online conversations and ... more prayer including for friends and family.

"I try to just think of everyone I can and just pray for them personally - just pray for whatever they need," Ms Watkins said.

"And I feel too that that's a way I feel connected to people."

- news.com.au

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