Being allergic to water is an extremely unusual health condition. Water is the crucial element that all life forms are entirely dependent on it. It is the foundation of cells and it is what composes a major part of the human body. Thus, to develop an allergic reaction from exposure to water can be agonizingly distressing. For an individual with this kind of allergy, being exposed to water even for a few minutes can result to an outbreak of burning hives and swelling on the skin.
Types of water allergy
Water allergy is a very rare form of physical allergy. As implausible as it may sound, it has been documented in medical journals and there are not many cases ever reported. Experts classify two types of water allergy. The first is aquagenic pruritus, a condition that is caused by a histamine, or an element that triggers an inflammatory reaction in a person. It typically occurs to affected individuals who would experience severe itching on the skin, but without noticeable skin lesions, usually after contact with water. In some cases, triggers can be temperature changes, sweat, exposure to synthetic fibers and sweat.
The second type is aquagenic urticaria, a rarely diagnosed variety of physical urticaria. It is usually characterized by a painful skin reaction, itching and development of hives after getting in contact with water, its different temperatures, or chemicals found in water. Some medical professionals cite additives, minerals and other chemicals in the water as the cause for the allergic reaction that develops on the sufferer’s skin. Ions in non-distilled water are thought to be one of the substances that cause the allergy symptoms. Symptoms can also be triggered by sweat and tears.
How to manage being allergic to water
The symptoms of aquagenic pruritus can be controlled through application of capsaicin cream on the affected areas of the skin. Some patients undergo a certain type of phototherapy treatment in medical facilities, while others find relief from using tanning beds. Other forms of relief can be found by generously applying baby oil and specific types of emollients on the skin after bathing. Symptoms may also be controlled by the use of typical H1 and H2 blockers.
On the contrary, people suffering from aquagenic urticaria may not have options, as of yet, when it comes to treatment of the disorder. Dermatologists recommend that the best way for them to relieve themselves of the affliction is to avoid being exposed to water as much as possible. Affected people should take short showers, keep themselves cool, and avoid rain, sweat and tears on their faces. Other patients have reported obtaining relief from the burning sensation after taking certain antihistamines and other doctor-prescribed medications.
Having the condition of being allergic to water is massively uncomfortable and life-changing that it can result to a lifestyle that can be extremely tough to deal with. Especially with patients who develop aquagenic urticaria, which medical experts have yet to find a treatment for, avoidance stands as the best way to prevent the occurrence of the symptoms.