Allergy to Water: Even a Teardrop Burns the Skin

Nov 09, 2015 02:34 PM EST | By A. M.


Only 35 people in the world have aquagenic urticaria and Niah Selway is one of them. While Niah can drink water and clean her hands with it, she experiences excruciating pain any time water touches any other part of her body that is not as frequently exposed.

"Living with it is a nightmare. When water comes into contact with my skin it feels like it's burning. I'm in a lot of pain and there's nothing anyone can do," Niah says of her ordeal.

In an effort to alleviate the symptoms and ease her discomfort Niah relates that she has been trying antihistamine of different strengths. Unfortunately the symptoms are manifested anyway.

Niah was a little girl of five when the first signs of aquagenic urticaria appeared. For a while no one knew what caused the painful rashes that plagued her.  The rain, a swim, even her own tears always resulted to a skin breakout. Interestingly, Niah has a few minutes in the shower before the burning pain begins. If she times her shower right, the pain can somehow be manageable.

"Even though water makes me have the reaction it's the water that soothes it as well. I can never tell how long I'll be in the shower because it depends on the level of my reaction.

"When I take off make-up with baby wipes and use toner and moisturiser it really stings. My face burns for up to half-an-hour but I have to do it."

Unable to find help elsewhere, Niah turned to the Internet to find the key to the mystery of her extreme and frequent allergic reactions. In her search Niah came across a few stories similar to her own.  The story of one girl in America, who had the same symptoms and experiences, helped Niah pin a name to her condition. To someone who has lived in puzzlement for most of her life, this finding is a genuine break-through.

For now, no cure seems forthcoming and Niah is resigned to live with the difficulties attached to her illness. Still, hope lives eternal.

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