For most of us going to the beach is about enjoying the waves and soaking up the sun. But for Sam Phelps, it means gearing up in a wetsuit, gloves, boots and a mask because he is allergic to sunlight due to a rare condition.
Sunlight causes the 27-year-old marine engineer from Bristol, to break out in painful, swollen rashes on hot days, even in winter, the Daily Mail reported. The sunshine makes his skin swell and turn purple causing excruciating pain. Sometimes, he told the Daily Mail it feels like a person is holding a lighter to his skin.
His condition, called erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), is incurable and makes his skin burn when exposed to UV light. According to the British Skin Foundation, symptoms of EPP begin with "tingling, itching or burning, as well as redness and burning". In certain cases people with EPP can develop liver disease. While EEP is inherited, families may not be aware they carry a gene with the condition.
Even though his friends tease him about being like a "vampire", Phelps reveals it helps explain his condition to others. Having to covering his face due to the condition makes security guards think he a criminal, according to the report.
Since being diagnosed with the condition six year ago, Phelps has had treatment sessions during the summer to help his skin adapt to the light. While it is not a cure, it does help make the symptoms less painful.
Despite it all, Phelps does not let the incurable disease stop him from spending time with friends and takes more risks with precaution to spend more time with them out in the sun....