A SCOTS schoolgirl with an incurable lung condition will never be able to enjoy summer because the heat leaves her struggling to breathe and “panting like a puppy”.
Harper Mitchell Hyslop, seven, is the only person in the UK suffering from a type of children’s interstitial lung disease (chILD) that is so rare that it has no name.
Harper is forced to carry oxygen in her backpack and has to stay at home with her parents Jodie, 38, and John, 40, while her friends go out and enjoy their summer holidays.
The youngster, from Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, is left panting when the sun comes out because her lungs are so inflamed – and is aggravated in the heat.
At first, her parents were confused about what was happening to their daughter when she became ill aged five.
The couple watched their daughter for eight weeks as Harper’s flu-like symptoms were initially misdiagnosed as a virus before being diagnosed with chILD in 2016.
Jodie said: “Her eyes got really dark, she was having flu-like symptoms. Her lungs had inflamed that much that she was struggling to breathe.
“She had lost so much weight, she didn’t want to eat and she had lost 10-and-a-half lbs.
“She was admitted to hospital and got an X-Ray which showed the results of her lungs. They just didn’t function properly and it becomes worse when it’s warm.
“She pants like a puppy. You know the same way a dog would have its tongue sticking out – It’s like that.
“At first, we thought she was having a panic attack as her chest went up.”
ChILD is a broad term for a group of rare lung diseases causing a lack of oxygen in the blood.
The interstitial tissues are inflamed meaning Harper has difficulty passing oxygen.
Harper had to carry oxygen canisters when she was first diagnosed but she then started taking liquid oxygen from a backpack which Jodie believes “lasts much longer”.
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Social care worker Jodie says that her daughter needs frequent rest and is sad that her condition means that she has to miss out on hanging out with her friends.
Jodie added: “Due to the condition, it means although she can eat properly, she needs to have cool showers.
“She tends to rest frequently and she can’t be out in the heat like her friends. She feels sad about that but it’s about trying to teach her how to work with her condition.”
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