Archives // Subscribe // Random Article

Imagine taking a shower or going for a swim, and a few minutes later, it feels like your skin is burning.  Or going to the drinking fountain and feeling short of breath as if your throat were closing.  You may be allergic to water.

It is called aquagenic urticaria.  The condition occurs after almost any significant exposure to water.  The reaction isn’t a typical allergy — more accurately, it’s a hypersensitivity to water as the condition does not cause the release of histamine.   Warmer water causes worse reactions, but reactions happen regardless of water temperature.  Drinking water can cause one’s throat to swell up inside.

To make matters worse?  Perspiration can trigger a reaction in those with the allergy.  Imagine not being able to sweat without breaking out in a rash, and, if you do get sweaty, not being able to shower.  It’s extremely rare — there are only a few dozen cases known to exist — but it’s definitely real, as this lady and this young woman can attest.  (Those links have pictures with the rash outbreaks, so if that’s going to bother you, don’t click.)

Bonus Fact:  You can be addicted to drinking water, too, but that is typically a symptom, not a condition itself, as discussed in this New York Times Magazine article.

Related: “Food Allergies and Food Intolerance: The Complete Guide to Their Identification and Treatment“ by Jonathan Brostoff. Sixteen reviews averaging 4.5 stars.

Originally published

NOW I KNOW is a free email newsletter of incredible things; you'll learn something new every day. Subscribe now!

NOW I KNOW is a free daily newsletter of incredible things; you’ll learn something new every day!

Written and distributed by Dan Lewis.

Click here to learn more about NOW I KNOW, or to subscribe.

Click here to see the full archives.

Click here to search the archives.

Copyright © 2010-2013 Dan Lewis. All rights reserved.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Some images via Wikipedia, available for use here under a Creative Commons license, and copyright their respective owners.