Allergy-induced asthma is common enough the world over, but young British schoolboy Junior Rucroft has a bizarre form of the disease – he stares death in the face every day because he is allergic to himself.
The seven-year-old faces the risk of a life-threatening reaction or an asthma attack every day because his body reacts badly to his own hair follicles.
Junior, of Darlington, Durham, has been admitted to hospital more than 50 times, desperately struggling to breathe. He is allergic to many things, including his own hair follicles.
His mother Paula Hopps was shocked when she was told by doctors that her son was allergic to his own body.
The 31-year-old Hopps, ''I've had phone calls from school because when he gets a bit stressed while he's doing his work, he runs his hands through his hair. Then, when he touches his face, it swells up. It's crazy that Junior is allergic to his hair and I couldn't believe it when I was first told - it seemed ridiculous.
''You can't avoid your hair so we have to just make sure that Junior's is kept short and that he doesn't rub his head.''
Junior has a long list of allergies that interfere with his life. He was first diagnosed with asthma and allergies at the age of one after a kiss from his mum almost killed him.
"I'd been eating a bag of nuts and I kissed him a short time afterwards. Suddenly, his face swelled up and he couldn't breathe," explained mum-of-six Paula. "It was terrifying and I didn't have a clue why it was happening. I didn't automatically put two and two together. The paramedics said they got there just in time. They gave him an adrenaline injection and oxygen until he got to hospital.
''He was diagnosed with asthma pretty much straight after that as he kept getting breathless and having to go back to hospital.
"His doctors also did allergy tests on him and found he's allergic to pretty much everything - nuts, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, grass, house dust mites, pollen, and even human hair fibre.''
It all means life is a day-to-day struggle for Junior and his family as they try to avoid triggering a bad reaction.
Paula added, ''His allergies bring on asthma attacks, but he also might get random attacks if he's running up the stairs or if he's getting emotional about something.
''If he's happy and laughing or if he's crying, that can trigger an attack.
''He's been admitted to hospital well over 50 times. Sometimes, we might just be there for a check-up and his oxygen levels are worryingly low, so we end up having to stay in overnight.''
Junior has missed a lot of school because of his condition, as well through routine appointments at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Junior also struggles with his weight because of the cocktail of medication he takes and, while he can usually take part in physical exercises, he must have 10 puffs of his inhaler before he starts any exercise.
As well as looking after Junior, and her other children Paula is constantly dusting, cleaning and washing to make sure there aren't any dust mites in the house.
None of Junior's siblings have allergies, other than one of his sisters, who suffers from hay fever.