This Woman Lives in an Attic and Is Fatally Allergic to Her Husband

This Woman Lives in an Attic and Is Fatally Allergic to Her Husband

A rare disease has resulted in a Minnesota woman’s allergic reaction to her husband. She can no longer be in the same room as him, and lives in the attic.

You thought you’ve heard it all but how about this one: a woman in Minnesota is fatally allergic to her husband. She can’t hold his hand or kiss him because it might kill her.

Is it a couple bound for divorce? It’s actually no joke, but a true medical condition.

Johanna Watkins has a very rare disease called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, and it has caused her immune system to react to her husband, Scott. She can’t be around his hair, his skin, breath, everything.

She’ll break into anaphylactic shock.

What is this crazy affliction? Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is a rare immunological condition that causes the mast cells in the body to produce too much histamine, causing allergic reactions.

Scott and Johanna’s Story


Image courtesy of Pixbay, not Johanna’s actual attic.

Scott and Johanna were married in 2013 when Johanna’s condition wasn’t so extreme. She could still interact. Johanna had health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, rashes and migraines, but married life was lovable and livable.

The two had hoped that Johanna’s condition wouldn’t worsen but now it has. And while the couple has a loving relationship and remain committed to each other, very unfortunately, they can no longer occupy the same room.

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So, what’s the set up? Johanna is living in a confined space in the attic of a house they are sharing with friends, while Johanna and Scott’s own house is being renovated to accommodate her condition, reports the

Johanna hasn’t left her room in over a year, except for medical emergencies.

Daily Life


Scott, for his part, works as a full-time teacher and cooks meals for his wife every day. The two talk on the phone and watch TV together. They sit far away in different parts of the house, text about their shows, and never meet in person.

While it’s sounds like something out of the twilight zone, it’s actually not the first time that Johanna has had an allergic reaction to those she loves.

Related: Will This New Skin Patch Put an End to Peanut Allergies?

Previous flares ups have occurred making her allergic to her parents and others, she says. And it’s a nightmare now that it’s happened with her husband.

Is anyone a safe zone? At the moment the only people that Johanna doesn’t seem to react to are her siblings. They help take care of her and have to strip down to their underwear, and put on clothes that they only wear in Johanna’s room when they visit. They also have to take a shower before coming up.

Brynn Duncan has been named ‘Bubble Girl’ and also suffers from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

People who suffer from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome can be treated with antihistamines if they have a milder condition. In Johanna’s case, and others like hers, a solid cure remains to be found.

Related: Why the Heck Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

Brynn Duncan, featured in the video above, was a happy young high school student who excelled at Taekwondo before her illness struck. She hopes that her condition will get better as time passes, but for the moment, she remains pretty much confined to her house, just like Johanna.

To learn more about Johanna and Scott’s story, check out

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