What triggers a person’s allergy? A lot may answer the common causes like pollen, dust mites, milk, eggs, peanuts, chocolate, seafood, or gluten-rich foods like wheat bread. Others may react sensitively to a certain type of medication, perfume, soap, a specific fabric or jewelry.
It sounds astonishing that people may suffer violent allergic reactions to the things that are seemingly harmless such as the ones mentioned above. But here’s the more mind-boggling (and poignant) fact about allergies: a handful of people are allergic towards something as essential as water or nearly every kind of food. Even weirder are the allergic reactions towards holding one’s newborn baby or sexual intercourse!
Our own bodies are composed of 60% water. In fact, water is essential not only to us humans, but to nearly every creature on this planet. That is why hearing someone who has a water allergy is enough to send us shockwaves. We would often wonder things like, “how does this person clean himself when he’s allergic to water?” or “what does he drink?”
Water allergy — also known as water utricaria — is a rare condition that affects one to every 23 million people. A brief contact with water is already dangerous that even the victim’s own tears and sweat can cause their skin to erupt in painful rashes, which usually take about two hours to subside. If this ordeal isn’t agonizing enough, sufferers can only endure less than a minute’s shower, and that already feels like torture. In worst case scenarios, hapless sufferers of this allergy would experience shortness of breath after drinking regular water. Thus, the water that they can safely drink is either carbonated or distilled.
There is no known cure for water allergy, but there are medications which help in alleviating its symptoms.
2. Sunlight, or any type of light
We understand that vampires would run away and hide whenever sunlight hits them. There may be some people who simply hate the glare and the heat of the sun, but that’s not the most surprising part. However, a few people actually get hurt by it — and that’s the shocking truth.
Photodermatitis is a condition characterized by a burning sensation, red and blister-like rashes, swelling and skin peeling. The skin will most likely erupt into rashes even under the faintest exposure to light. Sufferers of this malady may also experience nausea. Also known as “photoallergy” or “sun poisoning,” it is caused by the contact and exposure to any type of light.
People who suffer photodermatitis are made to cover up in full garb, or resign themselves to total darkness. In the rarest of cases, there are people who have actually died from this condition.
3. Holding one’s own newborn child
For a lot of women, there’s nothing more precious and special than holding your own baby. That’s why it’s painful — emotionally and also physically — when you acquire allergies from being pregnant and cradling your own newborn child!
This odd condition is called pemphigoid gestitionis or gestational pemphigoid, an autoimmune skin disorder that occurs during pregnancy and after childbirth. In rare cases, babies may also be born with the rash. The allergy is characterized by skin lesions, which advance to blisters during the second or third trimester. The blistering rash begins at the navel, and it eventually spreads to other parts of the body.
The rashes will soon subside after a few months but it will possibly return during menstruation.
4. Sexual intercourse
There may be some people who want to abstain sex altogether, but do you know that there are a few who are actually allergic to it? This bizarre condition is called “seminal plasma hypersensitivity” which occurs when women can develop an allergic response to their partner’s semen, a fluid that contains sperm. It is characterized by redness, swelling, itching and pain as a result of the contact with semen. Usually, it’s the vagina, but the allergy can spread to other parts of the body. This allergy can happen usually on the first intercourse, or on the next intercourse. In the rarest of cases, this allergic reaction can result to death.
But don’t worry in case you have acquired this allergy. It can be remedied by desensitization or by allergy shots which are often proven to be quite effective.
While this sounds like an elaborate excuse for skipping the gym, there are a number of people who are actually allergic to exercise and working out. This condition is known as “exercise-induced anaphylaxis,” a severe allergic reaction to exercise which can be life-threatening.
The usual symptoms of this allergy include fatigue, burning sensation, uncontrollable itching and redness. In more severe cases, victims suffer large hives and difficulty in breathing before collapsing and losing consciousness. These symptoms can be felt even after a mere 30 minutes of workout. It can be attributed to eating certain foods (like eggs, milk and seafood) or taking medications (notably ibuprofen and antibiotics) before exercising. Fortunately, antihistamines can help in lessening the symptoms.
6. Almost every food
Many people are allergic to some foods like eggs, peanut, milk and seafood which are the common triggers. However, there are few extreme cases where people suffer an allergic reaction to almost every type of food and drink. All creatures need food for sustenance, and it is troublesome and even heartbreaking to see sufferers who cannot eat out of fear. Even eating a tiny morsel can cause severe ulcers or violent convulsions. Not to mention that having a food allergy would lead them to suffer malnutrition and other illnesses.
An allergic response to almost all food is extremely rare; up to now, doctors and scientists still cannot pinpoint what causes it. While there is no cure for this mysterious condition, patients may receive supportive treatment and care such as medications and tube feeding.