Student Who Is Allergic To Water Breaks Out In Rashes When She Sweats Or Cries

A 2-year-old student from California is allergic to water and she has opened up about her extremely rare condition.

21-year-old Tessa Hansen-Smith is diagnosed with “Aquagenic Urticaria”, a type of disease that causes her to come out in a bright rash when she sweats, takes a shower, or cries.

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I get rashes on my body quite often, but especially where clothes rubs/rests on my skin. Even during a slow walk, the body will produce some amount of sweat. Most of the time it’s so minuscule people will never even notice it—but we have to wash our clothes because they’re getting dirty somehow! Even though when I walk slowly (the only form of exercise I can really handle) sweat is produced, but while it starts out as a very small amount like everyone else, my body quickly reacts to this and makes my temperature increase, which in turn makes me sweat more. It’s not a great cycle for this allergy. This is just one example of what my skin looks like, the waistband of my leggings I was wearing today rests on my stomach. There are no bumps because the medication I take helps reduce the allergic reaction, but the skin will still flare up and be extra sensitive. If I started to itch these spots (which I try really really hard not to) then rashes and hives can quickly pop up and persist for a lot longer than this sensitivity. I try to post pictures and videos that show physical, observable reactions, because since half of this allergy is all internal the worst parts of my allergy are invisible. People with invisible disabilities and conditions face a lot of discrimination and hate. I’ve had people, even people in the medical field, accuse me of lying about my condition if I can’t produce reactions visible to the naked eye. When I was in the ER a few weeks ago receiving IV infusions, the nurse didn’t believe me at first that I had to have steroid anti-histamines injected first or the saline would hurt me. But in between injections of medicine saline needs to be injected to flush the IV tube, and during this time she saw me grimace in pain and asked me to show her where the pain was. I pointed to part of my arm, starting in my wrist where the injection site was, and following an odd path up my arm. She looked shocked when I perfectly pointed out the route of a deep vein, and only then did she believe I was in actual pain. This condition is hard enough to deal with, but the accusatory attitudes that come from others makes it hard mentally. So be kind to everyone! 💕

A post shared by Tessa (@livingwaterless) on

Tessa was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 10-years-old.

The rare disease affects her that she avoids breaking out in a sweat and has to be shuttled around her university’s campus.

Tessa is now talking about her rare condition so she could help people that are diagnosed with “Aquagenic Urticaria”.

Talking about her rare condition, Tessa said, “It’s a really difficult condition to have as I’m even allergic to my own tears, saliva and sweat. I’m really prone to heat exhaustion and have to avoid physical activity.”

She added, “I even have to be shuttled around my campus at college because otherwise I show up to my class with a fever, migraine and rashes making it really difficult to concentrate.”

She continued, “I suffer with a lot of muscle fatigue and nausea too; the sickness is usually caused by me eating something with a lot of water in foods like some fruits and vegetables. Even drinking water can cause cuts on my tongue.”

When Tessa was just 8-years-old, her parents saw that there was something wrong with her.

Every time when she went for a shower, she would break out in a rash, which left her skin really red.

At that time, the family of Tessa thought she was allergic to the soap that they were using.

Tessa explained, “We one by one took them out to see which products I didn’t react to.”

She continued, “To help the rashes I’d take an allergy tablet which got rid of them but aquagenic urticaria gets worse with age, so that no longer works for me like it did.”

Once they realized that it was not a soap allergy, the mother of Tess realized that she had a disease.

Fast forward to today, Tessa now takes 9 tablets every day to keep her disease away.

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I hate taking pills so much, I dread it every day—you can probably tell from all my facial reactions 😖 The past two weeks have been really hard. My health dropped significantly and it’s been difficult bringing it back up. Two ER visits helped temporarily, but my pain is back and almost as bad as it was before the first ER visit. I’ve been missing all of my work shifts, most of my school lectures, I even missed two quizzes. My body just can’t keep up with my life at the moment. Going up and down stairs makes me feel like I just hiked a mountain. Lifting a jug of milk to pour it feels like I just curled a 50 pound weight. I can handle all the pain, what’s been most frustrating is just my lack of energy… hopefully things turn around soon. #disability #disabilityawareness #aquagenicurticaria

A post shared by Tessa (@livingwaterless) on

Tessa said, “Having aquagenic urticaria can be a mental game at times – it’s hard to take so many tablets everyday knowing that it’s not actually ever going to stop.”

She added, “At one point I was taking 12 tablets a day; currently I’m taking nine. I’m frequently reminded that there’s no cure to aquagenic urticaria and that I’ll never really be fully better which is definitely a difficult thing to hear sometimes.”

Tessa says her rare condition will not stop her from being left behind in life.

She wants to become independent and leave her town when she goes to college.

She explained, “I try my best to take things one day at a time because some days are better than others. If I’m able to see my friends and loved ones without having to leave early due to feeling sick, or make it to all my classes in one day, I see that as a win in my book.”

Tessa also runs an Instagram page that spreads awareness about the “Aquagenic Urticaria” disease.

The 21-year-old student wants to inspire people who are diagnosed with the same disease.

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