5 of the Craziest Allergies Real People Suffer From

It seems like half of the people you come across these days are allergic to something. As annoying as it is to sniffle and sneeze during hay fever season or to try and eat when you’ve got an allergy to peanuts or shellfish, can you imagine what life would be like if you were allergic to water, sunlight or even your own bodily fluids? Here are five of the most unusual documented allergies and sensitivities we’ve come across.

Water – Known as aquagenic urticaria, this is a painful condition where the skin breaks out into hives shortly after coming into contact with water. It can even be triggered by a person’s own sweat and tears. This condition makes bathing and drinking water difficult and swimming out of the question. There is no treatment for the condition other than avoidance although sometimes doctors prescribe antihistamines or other medications to try and reduce symptoms.

Sunlight – Anyone can get a sunburn if they stay out in the sun for too long, but for those with a sun allergy, hives, blisters and itchy papules can occur after just a few minutes of sun exposure. What’s more, there is actually more than one type of sun allergy! Certain medications and chemicals in hair and skin care products can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and trigger allergic symptoms, but in many cases, simple heredity is to blame. Sun allergy sufferers should avoid exposure to sunlight and talk to their doctor about discontinuing use of any medications that are known to increase photo-sensitivity.

Exercise – You might like to joke that you’re allergic to exercise, but for those that have the rare disorder exercise induced anaphalaxis, physical activity can be fatal. Vigorous activity such as running, dancing and cycling are the most common triggers although it has also been reported to have occurred while doing things like yard work and walking. Symptoms include nausea, hives, vomiting, dizziness and difficulty breathing which can progress to life-threatening edema, hypotension and finally cardiovascular collapse.

The Cold – It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when the mercury dips, but those suffering from cold urticaria also have to deal with hives, itching, swelling and redness. This can be triggered by cold ambient temperature as well as by touching cold water. If the entire body is exposed to cold, for example, by going for a dip in a cold pool, the reaction can be severe enough to put the body into shock and might even lead to death.

Sweat – Cholinergic urticaria is commonly known as an allergy to heat, however the cause is actually exposure to one’s own sweat. Symptoms include hives, redness and itchiness. It can be triggered by exercising, high temperatures, hot showers, baths or saunas, stress and even eating spicy food.  Doctors treat heat allergy by helping the patient avoid triggers and by prescribing certain drugs that help calm symptoms.

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