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Wednesday 8th July 2020

'My Xbox makes my skin fall off': Teen is allergic to modern life

Antonio is also hypersensitive to coins and batteries

Meet the brave teenager who is allergic to pretty much everything.

His jeans, batteries, Xbox and even iPads make his skin fall off.

Only child Antonio Maiocco, 13, has been left with lifelong allergies to hundreds of everyday items and foods since a bout of Scarlet Fever attacked his immune system two years ago.

The teen, who has been called Freddie Krueger by bullies, must take extreme precautions to avoid contact with nickel, colbalt and blue dye to prevent his skin 'shedding like a snake'.

His mum Lynn, 44, claims Antonio's unusual allergies, which she calls 'the beast', have turned their lives upside down since his first flare-up in summer 2014.

Nickel-free jewellery maker Lynn, said: "Blue dye is in everything, you wouldn't believe it.

"Over in America we have different regulations for food manufacturing. Even marshmallows have it in – and of course food packaging.

"It's in toothpaste, so he can only use natural toothpaste.

"Clothing is one of the worst things he'll react to. Jeans are really bad because they bleed so much dye.

"It's not just if he wears something, it's if it's close to him, too. So if a kid wearing jeans sits next to him on the bus then he'll get a reaction.

"I buy clear nail polish to cover the seat belts in cars, because that can cause a reaction.

"When we go to the movies, I have to take a seat cover so that he can sit without getting a reaction, which was fine to begin with but now he's getting older it's a bit more awkward.

"He has his own special stationery, and cutlery to take out to eat with."

Lynn has removed all traces of everyday products and items that contain blue dye from the family's house, placing them in a 'blue zone' in the garage to protect Antonio from harm.

And due to Antonio's cobalt allergy being primarily aggravated by batteries – ever-present in modern day electrical appliances – the shy teen has to use his iPad and Xbox wearing gloves.

His dedicated mum has also adopted plenty of makeshift measures too for Antonio's benefit.

Describing the first morning she found her son in agony with his skin peeling off in summer 2014, Lynn said: "His skin was just red and falling off.

"It was literally like he was a snake shedding his skin. There was pain in his eyes. Layers of skin were falling off him and lying over his bed.

"He couldn't move, his arms and legs were all tied up like a pretzel.

"He looked like he had been burned or had acid thrown on him.

"My husband and I rushed him straight to the children's hospital and they told us they had never seen anything like it."

Brave Antonio had to wait two months for his skin to heal enough to begin the testing process before he was diagnosed with severe cobalt, nickel and blue dye allergies in winter 2014.

Lynn must now help him to apply numerous creams every morning to minimise his reactions.

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And despite her fears for her son as he enters adolescence, the mum-of-one said her son deals with his condition incredibly well.

Lynn said: "It's the worst thing in the world to happen to me. I was told I would never have children, so he's even more special.

"I do get upset, and I worry how things will be for him now he's growing into a teenager.

"He does get bullied sometimes, a kid called him Freddie Krueger once and he was so upset.

"But he's amazing. He has so much strength, he keeps telling me that everything will be fine and we can manage it. He just deals with it.

"When I ask him how he is he's always like, 'I feel great!'

"I tell him all the time, 'I knew you'd be special, but I never knew that you would be this unique.'"