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Updated 03 August 2018

Meet the Hungarian woman who’s allergic to water

She’s allergic to any watery liquids including her own sweat and tears!

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She’s allergic to any watery liquids including her own sweat and tears!

It wasn’t until 2007 that photographer Valentina Bones (25), who moved to California from Hungary, discovered she had aquagenic urticaria – a rare condition in which hives or a rash develop rapidly after the skin is exposed to water of any temperature, according to Rare Diseases.

“I was born and raised in Europe, where I never had any allergies or skin problems. Shortly after I moved to America in 2007, I started getting small red rashes on my face after getting in coats with water or sweat,” Valentina said.

When she turned 17, Valentina noticed she was getting an allergic reaction to water, which her mother thought was “something in the water”.

Initially their doctor believed it was probably a vitamin deficiency.

A rash develops within two minutes of her skin being exposed to heat as opposed to cold, which she can tolerate for 20 to 30 minutes without getting a rash.

Her condition has caused strangers to stare at her, which has made Valentina feel very insecure.

“For me, any liquid triggers aquagenic urticaria; water, sweat, saliva and even juice from a juicy fruit. I don't do any sports or physical activity I know will result in me getting unwanted attention due to how my skin looks.

“I took night classes in college because it was too hot and humid in the classroom during the day. As long as my body stays dry, my allergy to water doesn’t make my life less happy.

“By the time I was 18, it affected my face, chest and stomach area. The rashes are red, itching and burning. By the time I was 22, it affected 80 percent of my body; arms and back included.

“I tried different allergy and herbal medication, but nothing seemed to stop the itching, not even Aloe Vera or itching cream.

“After years of trying different methods to ease the pain and itching, I've developed the habit to limit my contact with water as much as I can; stay indoors during a rainy season and wear light clothing when it’s hot outside,” she said.

The 25-year-old explained her daily routine, including how she takes a shower.

“The most common question I get when I tell someone I have water allergies is how do I shower? In the summer I shower with cold water, at an average time.

“In the winter I either use wet washcloths or I shower with slightly warm but not hot water for less than three minutes.

“I wash my hair separately by bending over in the tub so I don't have to spend extra time in the shower with water getting in contact with my skin.

“I take bubble baths maybe twice a year as a treat, on my birthday or Christmas. Which makes me really sad because I adore bath bombs; you can find me at a Lush store smelling everything.”

Valentina says her growing social media presence has helped raise awareness for the rare condition.

“Aquagenic urticaria is so rare that a few years ago it didn't even have a name. I remember googling ‘water allergies’ when I was young to find more information about it.

“All that came up on Wikipedia was simply water allergy with barely any information. All I could find on it was that it’s very rare, it affects one in 23 million people and there’s no cure.

“With the internet and social media growing at an enormous speed, more and more people have been coming forward with this allergy and finally someone named it.”

Sources: Magazine Features

 

 
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