Allergic to Water? Wow!

Alexandra Allen from Utah was recently diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria – an allergy to water.


Yep, water. It’s an incurable condition that causes the skin to become highly irritated and break out in hives.

17 year old Alex first noticed a s reaction  during a family vacation at age 12. She remembers swimming in a pool one minute, the next minute waking up a few hours later itching and covered in hives. Initially thought to be a chlorine allergy, it turned into something much more unavoidable. At age 15, she discovered a story about aqagenic urticaria on the net describing the same symptoms and breakouts she had experienced – and to her doctor’s amazement, the symptoms fit her profile perfectly.

Alaxandria keeps a blog about her journey in life with the challenges created by this water allergy. “There will be days when you lay in bed covered in hives or whatever your symptoms may be and think that maybe I’m a mess up, a flaw in the assembly line of humanity, a printing error in the contract of life,” she writes.

The word “urticaria” literally means “hives”. Aquagenic urticaria is an allergic reaction that causes small hives or wheals of edema when water touches the skin. Daily activities like showering, crying or getting rained on may all cause itchy and painful reactions,  sometimes even burning.

“Individual hives last 24 hours or less. However, the course of a hive episode may be days to weeks, but there is usually a spontaneous resolution when the response burns out,” says Lawrence Eichenfield, MD, Chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at the University of California, San Diego.

A doctor may diagnose the allergy by applying tap and distilled water to the skin and watching for a reaction. The cause of the condition is still left unknown, but victims to this unfortunate reaction can tame the breakouts with antihistamines.

(Source: Yahoo Health)