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Woman allergic to water says her scalp would bleed after showering

By NICK GARCIA Published Oct 05, 2023 12:04 pm

A 25-year-old woman from Fresno in California has a rare allergy to water.

PEOPLE Magazine, citing ABC-30, reported that Tessa Hansen Smith's condition causes her to break out in welts and hives even from her own tears and sweat.

Smith said she developed the allergy when she was eight years old. When she comes out of showers, she said her scalp would bleed.

Smith cleans her body with wet towelettes, "but even then those hurt,"  she said in an Instagram post last July.

She also avoids activities that can cause sweating and manages body odor through deodorant and shaving.

In any case, she sometimes needs a shower though she doesn't "do a whole lot that makes me very dirty."

If she drinks water or eats anything with a high water content, Smith said she feels a burning sensation. This forced her to drink milk instead, as its water content is counterbalanced by fats and proteins.

More formally known as aquagenic urticaria, the allergy “is a rare condition in which urticaria (hives) develop rapidly after the skin comes in contact with water, regardless of its temperature," according to the National Institute of Health.

Its exact underlying cause is currently unknown, and it most commonly affects women.

ABC-30, according to PEOPLE, said less than 250 people worldwide have the condition.

Smith got dehydrated recently and developed ischemic colitis, which occurs when the blood flow to a portion of the large intestine is temporarily reduced.

She got hospitalized and experienced complications, needing physical therapy to recover.