Water allergy: what is it, symptoms and treatment
Aquatic urticaria, popularly known as water allergy, is a rare condition in which the skin develops red and irritated patches shortly after contacting the skin with the water, regardless of its temperature or composition. Because of this, people with this condition generally have allergies to any type of sea water, swimming pool, sweat, hot or cold water, and even filtered water for drinking.
Generally, this type of allergy is more frequent in women, but it can also occur in men and the first symptoms usually appear in adolescence.
Due to the fact that the cause of this illness is still not known, there is also no treatment to cure it. However, the dermatologist may advise the use of some techniques such as exposure to UV rays or the ingestion of antihistamines to alleviate the discomfort.
The most common symptoms in case of water allergy are:
- Red spots on the skin that appear after coming into contact with water;
- Comezón or sensation of burning in the skin;
- Stained spots on the skin without reddening.
Usually these signs appear in places close to the head such as el cuello, los arms or el pecho, but they can also spread throughout the body, depending on the region where I am in contact with the water. These stains tend to disappear around 30 to 60 minutes after contacting the water.
In more serious situations, this type of allergy can also cause an anaphylactic shock with symptoms such as feeling short of breath, wheezing while breathing, feeling of having a ball in the throat or swollen face. In these cases, you should immediately go to the hospital to start the treatment and avoid going out of bed.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of water allergy should always be checked by a dermatologist, as it is necessary to study all the personal history, as well as the symptoms that it presents.
However, there is a problem that can be checked by the doctor to identify if the cause of the stains is really due to the water. In this case, the dermatologist emerges a gas in water at 35ºC and puts it in a region of the pecho, after 15 minutes, evaluates if stains appear in the place and if it is positive, evaluates the type of stain and the symptoms involved, to get the correct diagnosis.
Causes of water allergy
However, there is no definite cause for the emergence of water allergy, however, scientists point to 2 possible theories. The first is that allergy is actually caused by substances that dissolve in water and end up entering the body through the pores and causing an exaggerated response to the immune system.
However, another theory says that allergy arises because in affected people, the contact of water molecules with the skin creates a toxic substance that leads to the emergence of the spots and the associated symptoms.
See other diseases that can cause red spots on the skin.
How is the treatment performed?
Although there is no cure for water allergy, there are some forms of treatment that can be recommended by a dermatologist to relieve the discomfort:
- antihistaminessuch as Cetirizine or Hydroxyzine: lowers histamine levels in the body, which is the substance responsible for the emergence of allergy symptoms and, as they can be used after contact with water to relieve discomfort and malaise;
- anticholinergicssuch as Scopolamine: it also seems that they reduce symptoms when used before exposure;
- Barrera creams or oils: It is more suitable for people who practice physical activities which need to get in touch with the water. It should be applied before the exposition, to alleviate the ailments.
In the most serious cases, in which symptoms of anaphylactic shock normally appear, the doctor may also receive a plume preloaded with epinephrine, which must always be carried in a lining so that it can be used in emergency situations.
Precautions to avoid allergies
The best way to avoid the emergence of allergy symptoms is to avoid skin contact with water, however, it is always possible, especially when bathing or drinking water.
That’s why some techniques that can help are:
- Don’t bathe in the sea or in the pool;
- Take only 1 to 2 baths per weekfor less than 1 minute;
- Avoid intense physical exercise that causes a lot of sweating;
- Drink water using a pitillo or popote to avoid the contact of water with the lips.
Also, use extra dry skin creams such as Nivea or Vaseline, as well as sweet almond oil or Vaseline can also help alleviate symptoms, creating a barrier between the skin and the water, especially during rainy or wet periods. It is difficult to avoid accidental contact with water.
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