Aquagenic Urticaria – One Who Has A Susceptible Allergy To Water

A young woman can’t have a bath, go swimming, go out in the rain or she can’t even watch a weepy movie because she is susceptible by an allergy to water known as aquagenic urticaria.

Her own tears bring her out in a painful rash and it takes her two hours to recover after every quick shower.

It means that she can’t have long soaks in the bath, go swimming, or cry without triggering a burning rash on her skin.

Katie Dell, 26, is one of only about 35 people in the world diagnosed with the rare allergy aquagenic urticaria.

Katie avoids going out when it’s raining as it brings her out in itchy hives, her condition often leaves her too scared to leave her home in case it rains.

Katie, from Flint, North Wales, has even had to give up her job as a dance teacher because sweat also causes a reaction.

But she can’t get upset and cry, because her tears also cause a painful reaction on her face.

What she remember symptoms began after she had her tonsils removed when she was about 16.
After the operation she had penicillin that she later discovered she was allergic to. Doctors think this may have altered the histamine levels in her body.

Katie said she soon noticed that she developed a rash every time she came into contact with water.

Her new GP thought it was Aquagenic urticaria and referred her to a specialist. She was diagnosed by a dermatology specialist at Glan Clwyd Hospital in October this year.

Lindsey McManus, allergy expert for Allergy UK, said the condition can be triggered by a number of different reasons, from water temperature to chemicals in water.

She said, ‘Aquagenic urticaria is a relatively rare condition. Urticaria is notoriously difficult to diagnose and symptoms include an itchy nettlerash (hives).

‘However, not all forms of urticaria have an allergic component, it could be caused by a physical reaction to things like heat or exercise. It is usually treated by a course of anti-histamines.

There is currently no cure for aquagenic urticaria and Katie says she has accepted that she is likely to have the condition for the rest of her life.

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