“Water is life!” Haven’t we all grown up hearing this time and again? Now, imagine not being able to come in physical contact with water in any way. Imagine being allergic to a substance that makes up about 70 percent of the earth and almost as much of our bodies.
You can’t bathe, you can’t enjoy the rain or the snow, and even your own sweat or tears become your enemy. Yes, all this is a thing. There are people who are allergic to water. Though it’s a rare condition, aquagenic urticaria – as it is officially called – can be debilitating and tough to handle.
So what’s it like for the people who’re allergic to water and how do they manage it?
How Do People React to the Allergy?
Some case studies of this allergy have been reported on and documented by media outlets across the world.
It can cause painful red rashes or hives on the body whenever the allergic person comes in contact with water. As with any allergy, people who suffer do so with varying degrees of severity.
I know what you’re thinking. They do have to drink water to survive. And yes, they can drink water. Lots of it.
It’s a skin condition, drinking water doesn’t trigger the reaction. Even though, we’re made up of water, that has nothing to do with the allergy. So, it’s just the skin reacting to the water.
Some people also have an adverse reaction to their own sweat and tears!
The effect can be extremely painful and the sensation can be itchy and burning. The longer they’re exposed to the water, the worse the reaction.
Can They Bathe or Wash Themselves?
Not really. It will trigger the reaction. But people find different ways to keep themselves clean and take extremely short showers with less frequency.
So, they have 2-3 minute showers a few times a week. If they do it more than this, the reaction can be quite bad.
What about washing their hands or face? They have to avoid that as much as possible. An affected person narrates in a publication that she washes her hands maybe once a day with cold water and for the rest of the times, she just tries not to get herself dirty or wipes and uses a hand sanitiser. Same goes for the face, she uses cleansing wipes when absolutely necessary. “I just pretend I’m permanently on a camping trip.”
They can’t go out in rain either. Let alone having a swim on a hot summer day.
Is There a Cure for It?
No, there isn’t a definitive cure. The effects of the reaction can only be managed with anti-allergy drugs and ointments.
This condition is a mystery for even doctors. They’re not sure why it happens or what causes the condition. Some experts say the cases are extremely rare to be able to carry proper studies.
There’s UV therapy to toughen the skin cells, but there are risks and it may help very little. Antihistamine drugs can be used to relieve the symptoms.
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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