We all probably know someone with some kind of allergy. Whether it’s dairy, nuts, pollen, or dogs, although it’s quite inconvenient, and at its most severe may be fatal, having an allergy to something is pretty common. But could you imagine being allergic to water? Probably not. After all, we come into contact with good old h2o all the time so there’s no way to avoid it, right?
Well, that’s exactly what one woman, who has a legitimate allergy to water, has to live with daily. And it’s been a huge struggle. Keep scrolling to learn more about her rare condition.
As annoying as they are, allergies are just a fact of life for many of us.
Whether it’s a pollen allergy that wreaks havoc throughout summer or a dairy allergy meaning cheese is well and truly off the menu – we all either have one ourselves or know someone else with an allergy of some sort.
They are very common.
So common in fact, that thirty-two million Americans reportedly have some kind of food allergy, with milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish, being the main 8 culprits for the most severe reactions.
But there are definitely some allergies that are more on the bizarre side.
Although extremely rare, everything ranging from glitter to leather can induce allergic reactions in some people.
Apparently you can even be allergic to your kids.
No, we’re not joking.
Some women are unlucky enough to end up with painful pregnancy-related skin allergy called pemphigoid gestationis – an autoimmune disease that usually manifests during the second or third trimester.
But probably the most shocking of all?
An allergy to water. Yep, good old H2o that we literally come into contact with every single day – even our own bodies produce it.
Aquagenic urticaria is a rare condition which means people have an allergic reaction when they come into contact with water.
And one woman knows the realities of living with this condition all too well.
It is believed to affect fewer than one hundred people worldwide.
And due to this, there is very little known about it and what treatments are effective in relieving the symptoms.
Tessa Hansen-Smith from Florida was diagnosed with Aquagenic urticaria aged 10.
The twenty-one-year-old says she first showed signs of the rare condition at aged 8 when bathing and showering frequently caused her to break out in a rash.
At first, her parents simply assumed it was an allergy to her shampoo or body wash…
“I’m really lucky because my mum is a family medicine doctor so, when I kept coming out in these rashes, her first guess was that I was allergic to my soap or shampoo,” she explained.
But it quickly became clear that it was much more than that.
“With this in mind, we one-by-one took them out to see which products I didn’t react to,” the twenty-one-year-old explained.
But when nothing seemed to change, Tessa’s parents began researching her symptoms.
And it was then that they realized she had a rare water allergy.
Since discovering she had the condition, it has wreaked havoc in all aspects of Tessa’s life.
Most things that many of us take for granted, Tessa can’t do.
The twenty-one-year-old breaks out in a rash, suffers from migraines, and develops a fever within minutes of coming into contact with water.
And just take a moment to think about how often we come into contact with water… it’s even in our own sweat and saliva!
Her allergy means she cannot play sports.
And she has to be shuttled around her university campus in case she sweats and sets off a flare-up.
“I even have to be shuttled around my campus at college because otherwise I show up to my class with a fever, migraine and rashes making it really difficult to concentrate.”
But that’s just the half of it…
She finds it extremely uncomfortable to take even a sip of water – doing so, she claims, can cause painful cuts on her tongue.
And of course, there’s the issue of showering…
Tessa says that her condition means she can only shower twice a month.
She’s even allergic to her own saliva, sweat, and tears.
“It’s a really difficult condition to have as I’m even allergic to my own tears, saliva, and sweat,” she explained.
And it’s not just her skin the condition affects…
“I suffer with a lot of muscle fatigue and nausea too; the sickness is usually caused by me eating something with a lot of water in foods like some fruits and vegetables. Even drinking water can cause cuts on my tongue.”
At first, allergy tablets kept her symptoms at bay…
But the condition worsens with age, meaning they quickly stopped being effective.
Now, Tessa takes a staggering 9 antihistamine tablets a day to relieve her symptoms.
“Having aquagenic urticaria can be a mental game at times – it’s hard to take so many tablets every day knowing that it’s not actually ever going to stop.
“At one point I was taking twelve tablets a day – currently I’m taking 9.”
Sadly, there’s no cure.
“I’m frequently reminded that there’s no cure to aquagenic urticaria and that I’ll never really be fully better which is definitely a difficult thing to hear sometimes.”
But, despite her condition, Tessa tries to remain positive and not allow it to rule her life.
“I have always been very determined to be independent and leave my home town for college,” she added. “I try my best to take things one day at a time because some days are better than others.”
While there’s sadly no cure for Tessa, there is hope for those suffering from cat allergies. Keep scrolling to learn more about the so-called miracle cure.