All about Water Allergy, Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Pure natural water is harmless and there are rare chances of allergies. Water allergy is a condition in which a person suffers from severe hives when water touches his skin. Scientifically, water allergy classifies into two types:

  • Aquagenic Urticaria
  • Aquagenic Pruritus

An allergy is the body’s adverse reaction to a specific compound present in either edible or topical substances. The body’s defense mechanism identifies these products as harmful. Water allergy is a rare kind of allergy.

Unlike other food allergies, water does not cause an allergic reaction when swallowed. The person suffering from water allergy has an allergic reaction when the water touches their skin. As the water touches the person’s skin, he would feel a burning sensation. In some cases, the burn may be visible, but in other cases, the burn is not visible on the skin.

Such differentiation in symptoms leads us to the classification of the allergy. Classification makes it easy to identify the correct treatment.Water Allergy, Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Types of Water Allergy:

There are two major scientific divisions for water allergy. The types are as follows:

  1. Aquagenic Urticaria:
    It is a rare condition that hives form after water touches the skin. In this case, the water can be of any temperature. Along with hives, it also causes itching. This condition is more common in females. It may take place in females after the onset of puberty, but it is a rare condition. The skin of the person grows bumps called hives or wheals and, in some cases, maybe itchy. The hives, however, fade away after an hour. But in extreme cases, they may cause a high level of distress to the person and may prove fatal.
  2. Aquagenic Pruritus: The condition in which, regardless of temperature, the water causes intense burning and itching on the skin in contact with water. And does not cause any visible skin burning. This sensation may last up to 30 minutes to one hour. For differentiation, both conditions are almost the same. The only difference is the visibility or redness of the skin. Among these two, water allergy is commonly termed only as Aquagenic Urticaria.

Water Allergy Symptoms:

The general topical symptoms of water allergy are as follows:

  • Hives
  • Burning of the skin
  • Itching
  • Tingling sensation

In case of more severe allergy, the symptoms following symptoms occur

  • Rash around the mouth
  • Difficulty in Swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing

If a person experiences the symptoms mentioned above, then he should immediately consult a doctor. An urgent visit to the doctor may cause the allergy to stop from intensifying. Causes of Water Allergy: The exact cause of water allergy is still unknown. It may either be the cause of something present in the water. Or it may also be due to a compound present on the skin. It is a well-known fact that water can be of various compositions depending upon its origin. Water may either be soft, i.e., it may contain calcium and magnesium along with hydrogen.

On the other hand, the water may be hard, i.e., it may include calcium and magnesium chloride and a few bicarbonates. So a person may be allergic to any one of the compounds present in water.

The other cause may be seen from a biological perspective. As a human being develops, specific changes occur in the body. These changes occur during puberty. In some cases, it may be possible that specific hormonal imbalance may cause the skin to excrete a compound with an adverse reaction to water. As the water touches the skin, the compound reacts aggressively, which causes hives and burns. But as soon as the water dries up, it heels. Some scientist believes that it may also be an underlying cause of Polycythaemia Vera.

How to Treat:

Water Allergy can not be treated entirely. Instead, the following methods can suppress it:

1: Using Antihistamines causes the hives to fade away. It treats the area has been affected by water.

2: We can use methods such as ointments and topical creams. Such products cause a layer between the skin and water, causing little to no hives.

3: We can use UVB, PUVA, propranolol, serotine, and doxepin.

4: The Water Challenge Test is another method to find and treat the cause of water allergy. In this process, 35 C water is applied to the upper part of the body for 30 minutes. It helps diagnose the cause of allergy. By knowing the cause of the allergy, it becomes easier to treat it.

5: For the treatment of water allergy, one can opt for different kinds of water. The selection of the type of water may also prove useful for allergy. The types of water are; Electrolytic, Purified, Distilled, Deionized, Spring, Alkaline. Among these types, the best-suited water may be replaced for drinking and daily use. Installations such as Ion exchange and reverse osmosis can be used to achieve water with desired compounds.

Difference Between Hydrophobia and Water Allergy:

Hydrophobia is a situation in which a person fears water. The person fears to drink or even see the water. It is an irrational fear of water. It is common in people who are in the later stages of rabies. Such people do not get hives or burns on the skin in contact with water. While water allergy causes hives and burns on the skin.

In short, people suffering from water allergy want water but can not use it, while people who have hydrophobia can have water but do not want to.

So, in conclusion, water allergy is a rare condition as compared to Vinegar allergy. These methods can not fully treat it, but we can avoid it using specific techniques. To prevent it, one must place tropical cream to create a barrier between the skin and water. And they must identify the cause of an allergy to coup with this disease.


Q#1: Is Water Allergy Common?

Ans: Water Allergy is not common. It is quite rare and mostly occurs in females who just hit puberty.

Q#2: Can people with water allergy drink water?

Ans: Yes, people with water allergy can drink water. They just must not let water touch their skin; otherwise, it may cause hives and burns.

Q#3: How long do hives caused by Aquagenic Urticaria last?

Ans: Hives caused by Aquagenic Urticaria lasts for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. It mostly depends upon the severity of the allergy.

Q#4: Can it be permanently treated?

Ans: Water Allergy can not be permanently treated. It can only be avoided, or topical creams may reduce the hives.

Q#5: What is Hydrophobia?

Ans: Hydrophobia is the irrational fear of water. It does not cause the skin to burn. It is only a psychological issue caused by people in the late stages of rabies.

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