Can You Be Allergic to Water? While Rare, It Is Possible

There are only about 35 known cases of individuals who are allergic to water. A 17-year-old girl, Alexandra A., from Utah is one of them. After spending some time in a hot tub while on a family vacation, the symptoms of her allergy began to arise rapidly and violently. She was forced to stay in the hospital to receive treatment for excruciating joint pain and internal bleeding

Alexandra describes her water allergy like this: “'You just feel like you've been dipped in a vat of acid, not for long, but for long enough to tear off a layer of skin.”

What is water allergy?

Water allergy, known scientifically as aquagenic urticaria, which is triggered by contact with water. Water containing chlorine or other chemicals may further exacerbate symptoms. It is not like other forms of allergy, which increase the level of histamine in the body, but is still considered an allergy nonetheless due to the ensuing reactionary symptoms.

Here are some facts about water allergy:

  • The first reaction is the development of rashes and itchy hives
  • A reaction can happen when sweating, or touching blood or tears
  • Symptoms may last anywhere between 10 minutes to 1 ½ hours
  • A formal treatment plan has not yet been discovered

Many dermatologists and allergists agree that for a sufferer like Alexandra, showers must be kept short and to only a few times a week. Treatment of the symptoms, such as hives, is the best form of relief that can be provided for now.

Are there any other forms of relief?

For Alexandra and other sufferers of water allergy, the problem could possibly only continue to worsen, as it may be considered a degenerative disorder. Some of the remedies that have worked for Alexandra include exercising in a cool room, so as not to produce too much sweat, avoiding the rain, and partaking in a vegetarian diet. It is unfortunate, she acknowledges, knowing that even humid climates can cause a reaction.

We at Center for Alleergy and Asthma of Georgia work hard to do everything we can for those who are dealing with any type of allergy, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. We can recommend a course of treatment to alleviate the symptoms first and foremost, and provide ongoing counsel and care through each and every step.

Not only are we compassionate to your cause, we are also award-winning, board-certified allergists in Georgia. Contact us today to schedule an appointment! We take same-day and walks-ins.

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