A 15-year-old girl from Tucson, Arizona (USA) is unable to cry, shower or drink water normally due to aqueous urticaria, a rare condition with only 100 cases reported worldwide. Abigail Beck was diagnosed with allergies in April after three years of symptoms and to tell doctors that her tears felt like sour and her shower was painful, according to the New York Post.
At first, Abigail thought it was normal and part of feeling pain from the water, so much so that she questioned her mother if she felt that way too. “I asked my mom recently if she remembers when I asked and why she doesn’t think something is wrong,” he said. “She said she thought it was something a kid would say.”
The teenager thought that something was wrong with the water, or even that the lotions gave reactions. Over time, I found that showering and swimming became difficult and painful tasks.
Because of this, Abigail hasn’t had a drink of water in a year because she vomits every time and says “it tastes bad.” He said, “I vomit if I drink water, my chest hurts a lot and my heart starts to beat very quickly.” As a result, the teen turns to rehydration pills, and things that “don’t take in a lot of water,” she says, like energy drinks and pure pomegranate juice.
But in the past few weeks, she’s had a reaction because she didn’t know that a sports drink contained more water than was acceptable for her conditions. “I had a reaction for four hours where my stomach was cramping, my chest was hurting and I was really dizzy and tired.”
Another difficulty is that a large portion of food and drink is made up of water. “I should check the labels, but everything in this world has water in it.”
According to Abigail, while in the shower, “the reaction starts out very mildly,” but then gets worse. “When I shower, it starts out very mild, then I get a rash and red spots, and then hives,” he said. “When I go out, the reaction really starts to happen. I have to dry it ASAP. I have to let the water flow in and out of the water while I wash my hair.”
She is frightened that no more information is available on this case. “I don’t know if he’ll kill me, I haven’t been told,” Abigail said. “I have symptoms that can make my heart stop, but no one knows anything about this condition, so they don’t know if my heart or lungs can stop working.”
She said she had to educate doctors about aquatic urticaria, because it’s so rare. “I had to educate my doctors about my condition because they hadn’t had to deal with it before,” he said.
Abigail stated that crying was “one of the worst parts” of burning her face. “I cry like a normal human being, and it hurts,” he said.
Sweat also hurts and rain worries, but she’s lucky it doesn’t rain much in Tucson. “If it’s raining, I probably won’t go out, but if I have to, I make sure I’m completely covered with a jacket and three pairs of sweatpants.”
Despite the difficulties, Abigail tries to maintain her good mood and works with an allergist to come up with a plan for possible allergic reactions when she’s at school. “I’m afraid that if one day I get out of control, no one will know what to do, including me. I don’t even know how to help myself. I try to maintain a good mood and I know that if something happens, the people around me will do the same. To the best of my ability they can.”
You try to find other like-minded people to help them. “It’s really frustrating,” he said. “People ask me to explain how it works, and I can, but I can’t explain why it happens because no one knows or understands.” “When I tell people I’m allergic to water, people think it’s very silly and a lot of people shock them. People always point out that our bodies are made of water.”
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