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Zidbits – Learn something new everyday! | October 21, 2014

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Can Someone Be Allergic To Water?

Can Someone Be Allergic To Water?

Believe it or not, yes. There are cases of people having horrible reactions when coming into contact with water.

Water Allergy

While not technically an allergy as it does not cause a release of histamines, it is described as such and often treated with antihistamines. The name of the condition is aquagenic urticaria.

Aquagenic urticaria is extremely rare as only a few cases have ever been reported. As you can imagine, it can often be severely debilitating. People afflicted with this ‘allergy’ can’t go swimming, soak in a hot bath or enjoy a long shower after a stressful day.

An External Problem

Luckily, it’s not a problem with the water inside of the body, but on the skin itself. People with this condition have to be very careful, even when they drink. They often opt for Sodas instead of water, tea or coffee. And they only shower 10 seconds at a time. They’re so sensitive, that their own tears and sweat can cause severe hives and rashes.

Aquagenic urticaria

Aquagenic urticaria

One such case is 21 year old Michaela Dutton of Walsall UK. She breaks out in hives when her skin comes into contact with the tiniest amount of water. Dutton said she broke out in a red rash and white blisters after she took a bath a week after her son was first born. “It’s horrible,” Dutton said. “I couldn’t believe it at first”.

She also must be careful when holding her 3-year-old son. His tears can cause hives. “He doesn’t really understand,” Dutton said. “If he falls asleep I have to watch he doesn’t dribble on me.”

Physical urticarias tend to occur in individuals starting in their 20s and 30s, and it is impossible to predict how long the condition will last. For one individual, it may last 8 months while another may have it the rest of their lives.

Because it is incredibly rare, not much is known about the condition or how it’s caused. There is also no known cure. Treatment includes Zostrix and antihistamines to relieve symptoms and ease suffering.

Bonus fact: It is also possible to be allergic to the Sun. Though, it is not as debilitating as a water allergy since there are ways to prevent or protect against the Sun’s rays. (Sunblocks, shade, clothing)

References:
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Volume 36, Issue 1, January 1997, Pages 118-119
Pediatric Dermatology Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 29–30, March 1994
Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, Volume 26, Number 3, May-June 2005 , pp. 217-220(4)


Comments

  1. Haruka Nanase

    Ah. Poor Michaela. She’s not able to experience the amazing feeling of water. At least she can see its beauty.

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