A 17 year old girl from Mapleton, Utah has been suffering from a rare form of allergy, allergy to water.
According to Alexandra Allen, she had her first allergic reaction to water when she was 12. Alexandra recalled that she was on a family vacation when it happened. She went swimming in the hotel pool and after a few hours, at night, she woke up and her entire body was covered in hives and was itching.
The 17 year old girl said that her initial reaction was she had an allergic reaction to the chlorine or other chemicals from the swimming pool’s water. But when she suffered the same allergic reaction after swimming in a lake, she realized that the problem was much serious than she originally thought.
According to the girl, when she was 15 she found a medical website that was talking about aquagenic urticarial, a rare allergic condition defined by an extreme reaction when the skin came in contact with water.
When the teenager showed what she had found to her dermatologist, he agreed with her.
Since she discovered the condition she suffers from, the avoided any interaction with water like swimming and changed her diet, becoming a vegetarian in order to reduce the amount of oil produced by her skin.
The teenager also needs to avoid sweating and can only shower two or three times a week.
The medical experts believe that her rare water allergy is degenerative, meaning that it gets worse with age and repeated exposure to water.
Allen said she fears that at some point even drinking water could cause severe allergic reactions. According to the girl, last year she spoke to a woman from UK who was diagnosed with the same condition and she told her that she can only drink Diet Coke.
According to the medical experts, aquagenic urticarial is a very rare condition which causes burning itches and painful rashes on the skin when it comes in contact with water.
The disease is so rare that only 50 cases have been reported.
According to a medical article written in the Journal of Allergy Immunological Practice, which is one of the few studies that describes this rare condition, aquagenic urticarial is not really an allergy but it causes similar allergic reactions that are very severe.
The article also says that aquagenic urticarial tends to affect more women than men and it usually appears during the first stages of puberty.
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