The Girl Who Is Allergic To Water

Ashleigh Morris of Melbourne, Australia cannot enjoy the simple things in life, such as going for a swim or taking a hot shower. She suffers from a condition called Aquagenic Urticaria, an allergy to water.  [1] This rare skin condition causes a painful reaction to from any form of contact with water.

Aquagenic Urticaria symptoms include itching, burning and the development of hives.   Any amount of water can trigger this reaction whether from swimming, crying or sweating.   In severe cases, the allergy can trigger a life threatening reaction making it difficult for sufferers to breathe or swallow. Some dermatologists believe coating the skin with petroleum before exposure to water can prevent reactions. Antihistamines such as Benadryl can ease any reaction.  [2]

In Ashleigh’s case the onset of Aquagenic Urticaria came from a reaction to Penicillin that altered her body’s histamine levels.  Dermatologists agree that Aquagenic Urticaria is associated with blood histamine levels but due to the rarity of this condition, doctors are unable to find a preventative measure for this.  Ashleigh was diagnosed in 2003 and takes certain measures to avoid exposure to water including staying in air-conditioned places and always keeping an umbrella in her car.  She is able to take quick showers but must stay home for hours until the rash goes away.






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