A phobia of fruit is sending one mother bananas.
Fran Dando, is so terrified of bananas she has to wear rubber gloves to unpeel one and panics about reading her son any bedtime story involving monkeys.
If the 21-year-old has the slightest contact with the fruit it can cause her to cry, hyperventilate or even vomit.
Fran believes her condition, a rare form of cibophobia, results from banana-related trauma as a child.
She said: “It began when I was seven years old. I climbed into bed one night and felt this horrible slimy thing underneath my body. It frightened the life out of me.
“I was petrified. I screamed for my mum and just lay there, frozen in panic.
“When mum ran in and turned on the light I saw it was a banana. My brother had put it in my bed as a joke.
“Now if I see one, the same feeling comes back. It's an instant reaction - like when you cut onions, you cry.”
Fran, from St Leonards, admitted her friends find her phobia hilarious and have even planted a banana in her bag as a joke.
She said: “I think they thought it would help me face my fear.
“I had to scrub my bag when I got home because the fruit had been touching my stuff. That is how much I hate them.”
Her fear is so extreme even an image of a banana in two-year-old son Harrison’s story books can cause a reaction.
She said: “When I read to him, if the book is about food or monkeys, I have to breathe for a couple of seconds and think: 'OK, there could be a picture here. Brace yourself.”
But she is determined her phobia will not affect her son’s diet.
She said: “I am a good mum and would do anything for my little boy, so I am not going to deny him something he likes which is good for him.
“I just have to use a blanket to pick them up and put them in the trolley. At home I have to wear rubber gloves and use a tea towel to open one.
“Two years ago there's no way I would have even touched one with gloves on.”