A woman who is allergic to virtually everything has been left a prisoner in her own home after NHS funding for her £4,000-a-year vaccines was scrapped.
Sarah Mills' face swells up when she just walks out of the front door of her house in Colchester, Essex because she allergic to everything from dogs and cats to perfume and petrol.
The 29-year-old's condition is so bad that she even has to ask family and friends to use particular washing powder so she does not get ill.
Allergy hell: Sarah Mills could only eat potatoes and rice when her reactions were at their worst
If she comes into contact with virtually all food she breaks out in nasty rashes, has pain in her joints and suffers from crippling stomach problems.
She says her life is now in turmoil after the NHS "ignored" the advice of her GP and stopped funding her daily supply of vaccines which had transformed her life.
She had been receiving the antigen vaccines since 2006, helping her body build up a toleration to cope with the 74 different allergies.
The injections contain low doses of the allergen which provoke the person's immune system into producing antibodies to try and neutralise it.
The theory behind this Neutralisation Provocation therapy is that the self-administered daily injections will increase tolerance to the allergen over time.
Health bosses say there is not enough 'clinical evidence' to show that the expensive treatment is effective.
But Sarah claims that the decision came after a doctor accused her of faking the debilitating string of symptoms.
Her appeals against the ruling have been rejected and she is now in a desperate battle to raise money to pay for the vaccines.
She said: 'It is no exaggeration to say that without the vaccines I become a prisoner in my own home.
'It has been very disappointing for me. The NHS is an organisation set up to look after the health of the nation but it has let me down and ignored the advice of my GP.
'It is so frustrating because I had been given a taste of a normal life and the medication was so successful that every year I was using it less and so the cost was dropping all the time.
'Just at the point that the treatment had worked and was really cost-effective, they decided to pull the plug on it.'
Allergic reactions leave Sarah red and itchy and with a swollen face
Having suffered with asthma, hayfever and eczema as child Sarah's conditions mysteriously snowballed when she was 22 when she became allergic to virtually everything.
Her list of foods that she could consume dropped to just 15 ITEMS as she survived on a diet of peas, broccoli and turkey but even then her body was still reacting badly when she ate.
She said: 'I could not have visitors to my home if they had washed their clothes in the wrong detergent, or were wearing a certain perfume or used a particular shampoo.
'My family were brilliant about changing what they used but I could not ask everyone to swap what they used just so they could see me, that would not be fair.
'I did not lose the will to be social, but it meant that my friendships changed and I would have to talk to friends on the telephone or use the internet to make contact.
'To the outside world I must have looked like a recluse. I did not want to be in that situation - I wanted to be able to go out and enjoy a nice summer's day like everyone else.'
In 2006 Sarah was given NHS funding of £2,000 for an initial six months of treatment at the private Breakspear specialist clinic in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, which helped revolutionise her life.
The twice-daily vaccines helped her manage her allergies and soon her list of foods she could eat shot up to 50 and her weight rose to a healthy 8st 5lbs as she enjoyed more meat, fish and vegetables.
Sarah Mills says her GP has backed her treatment but funding has been withdrawn
The funding was continued and the success of the vaccine programme for Sarah meant she was able to get out and about and even went on a camping trip in the countryside.
But in late 2009 her local primary care trust - which had been funding the vaccines - then asked her to go for assessments at Addenbrookes' Hospital in Cambridge to see if the treatment available on the NHS would be suitable for her.
Despite being told there was nothing that could be done on the NHS to help her, a third specialist at the hospital accused Sarah of making up the illness and her funding was stopped shortly afterwards.
Sarah said: 'When the doctor first said I was making it up, I laughed. I could not believe what I was hearing but when I came out of his room I was in floods of tears.
'No-one in their right mind would make this up, no-one would choose to have this as their way of life.
'I pretty much knew as soon as I left there that the funding would be stopped and that turned out to be the case despite letters from my GP saying that this was the only treatment that worked.'
For the past year Sarah, who is single, has had to rely on donations to fund the vaccines and has launched a fundraising campaign to try to raise enough cash to stay on the medication.
She said: 'I have had grants every so often from charity but that is getting less and less.
'I try to contribute all I can but not being able to work means my income is limited and my family, who are so supportive, cannot afford to give anymore.'
Mary Tompkins, assistant director for evidence-based medicine at NHS North East Essex, said: 'We cannot comment on individual cases because of patient confidentiality but all requests for exceptional funding area very carefully considered.
'There are some treatments that are not normally available on the NHS.
The can be for various reasons, but sometimes it is because the treatment does not have strong clinical evidence of its effectiveness.'
Lindsey McManus, from Allergy UK, said: 'It is a rather controversial form of treatment, the idea being that it helps people tolerate things that they are both allergic or intolerant to with the aim that they will eventually gain tolerance.
'Unfortunately this is not a recognised form of treatment by the NHS and medical profession and does not always work for everyone.
'Treatment tends to be given privately, not always by an allergy specialist and can be very expensive, as it can go on for many years. This could be why in this case treatment has been refused.
'There is often confusion regarding the difference between true IgE mediated allergy which causes conditions such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, urticaria, and anaphylaxis, and intolerance and conditions such as ME.
'Standard immunotherapy is only given by the NHS for airborne allergens such as pollens and moulds and for venom as in wasp and bee stings and for people whose allergies are so severe that traditional medications such as antihistamines are not sufficient. This is always done at a specialised allergy clinic.
'Sadly we do see people that have the raft of problems that this lady is suffering from and although there is help available for food, respiratory and skin allergies, there is little help available for food intolerance, chemical sensitivities and ME or chronic fatigue, this is why people will often become desperate for help and look to alternative forms of treatment.
'Some people do find it very helpful, but for others it can be a false hope, at a great cost.'
For more information on allergies visit http://www.allergyuk.org/