A 19-year-old Kent woman has revealed she gets rashes from her own sweat and tears.
She even has to avoid the rain as she gets a severe allergic reaction.
Abbie Plummer, from Maidstone, suffers with a rare condition called aquagenic urticaria, which causes her to break out in hives whenever her skin gets in contact with water.
This means the student has to avoid the substance whenever possible – including limiting showers to no more than 10 minutes.
Abbie also can’t go out in the rain unless she has a raincoat or umbrella and if there’s a storm, she avoids going out all together.
She is even allergic to her own tears, which can cause her eyes to itch and puff up.
Doctors first thought Abbie was allergic to her shampoo or conditioner but after switching to sensitive skin products the issue continued.
She was eventually referred to a dermatologist in 2018 and nine months later, Abbie was sent for tests at her local hospital.
A doctor there diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria.
‘I’m perfectly fine drinking water as it does nothing to me internally,’ she said. ‘It’s just on my skin.
‘If it is heavily raining I do see my skin start to flare up. When I bathe and shower, I just have to try and be quick when doing so.
‘I can usually tell when there’s going to be a breakout of hives as my skin gets itchy and red.
‘The longer my skin is in contact with water, the more it develops hives. It is a bit annoying having the condition but there’s not much I can do. I have learned to live with it now.’
Abbie is allergic to her own sweat but says the reaction is not as severe. The breakouts usually last for 30 minutes but are extremely painful.
She often has to hold back tears so as to not cause more discomfort.
Thankfully, she is now taking prescribed medication to make her life a little easier when it comes to dealing with water. Tanning and working out regularly can also help her manage symptoms.
‘With sweat it’s a bit more manageable,’ she explained. ‘I usually get a tan and the UV rays from the sun help my skin to not come up in hives.
‘And thankfully, the medication means my reactions can be a lot less severe and painful.’
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