Long-Term Gas Leak Makes Woman Allergic to Virtually Everything, Including People

After being exposed to a long-term gas leak in her home for a long period of time, a Los Angeles woman’s immune system turned against itself, making her allergic to food, water, clothing, technology with an electromagnetic field, and even people.

30-year-old Pilar Olave, a Chilean-born actress from Los Angeles, California, has been living in her room, isolated from the rest of the world, for the last two years. Due to severe allergies, coming into contact with certain chemicals, foods and bacteria that most of us carry around can trigger a variety of symptoms, like acute stomach pain, headaches, nausea, heart palpitations and tight chest. For now, Pilar can’t even kiss or touch her own husband, because her body is hypersensitive to bacteria.

Photo: Pilar Olave/GoFundMe

It all started four years ago, when Pilar started forgetting her script lines and experiencing symptoms like brain fog, nausea, chest tightness and heart palpitations. Soon after, she became allergic to foods and drinks, which caused rapid weight loss, and as the allergies got worse, she became unable to go outside or come anywhere near her husband and other loved-ones.

Every time she tried to eat something, her immune system would kick in and she would collapse. “I would have anaphylactic shocks where my throat would close up, but when I went to the emergency room no one ever knew how to treat me,” Pilar recalls. “I suffered numbness in my extremities and my vision became blurrier too, getting to the point where I thought I was going to lose my sight.”

Photo: Pilar Olave/GoFundMe

As her symptoms kept getting worse, doctors were baffled, and it wasn’t until Pilar’s family discovered that a gas pipe under her bedroom floor had corroded and had probably been releasing toxic gas for a long time, that they finally understood what was going on.

“It was in my bedroom where I spent every minute of the day, lying down, immobile, unable to speak well, my vision blurred, intense pain and difficulty to breathe and speak, not knowing that what was killing me lay beneath the floor,” Pilar said. “The toxic air I was breathing every time I was in my bedroom was depriving my body of oxygen and causing brain damage. On top of this it was affecting my immune and nervous system and causing my body to react harshly to chemicals that are in common everyday household objects.”

Photo: Pilar Olave/GoFundMe

Olave checked into a Texas clinic that specializes in severe cases of exposure to chemical toxicity. She had to be driven there, because “chemically rich environment for the duration of the flight was too risky.” She was diagnosed with extreme environmental poisoning and she spent a year “living inside four-walls with air purifiers running 24 hours a day and wearing a mask,” before finally being discharged.

Unfortunately, that didn’t mean that she could go back to her normal life. Not only is she not yet strong enough to work, but she remains confined to her room with air purifiers running 24/7, unable to come in contact with her husband or other people. After 200 oxygen sessions in a hyperbaric chamber, Pilar is now able to walk and talk again, and has even reintroduced some foods in her diet, but she is still allergic to a lot of things.

Photo: Pilar Olave/GoFundMe

“After having oxygen from a hyperbaric chamber, it has helped me with walking, talking and has strengthened my immune system,” Pilar Olave says. “It could still take years for me to fully recover, but I’m hopeful that someday I will have a normal life again. It’s been a horrible nightmare for me, but I am hopeful someday soon this will be over.”

As you can imagine, the long-term costs of treatment for Pilar are huge, and after years of battle with this rare disease, she and her family are struggling to keep up with the bills. The young actress has set up a GoFundMe page, hoping to raise $33,000 for her medical expenses, asking people to donate as little as they can.


Just a few months ago, we wrote about the similarly tragic case of Johanna Watkins, who was also diagnosed with an extremely rare condition that made her allergic to hundreds of things, including the scent of her husband. Like Pilar, she had to live alone in a specially-built “safe zone” of her house, hoping to one day get back to her normal life.