Alexandra Allen is one of 34 known people with this condition.
Ms. Allen and her kryptonite. (via Facebook)
Severe allergies are not an easy cross to bear. Many sufferers have to monitor what they eat, what they touch, and even what they breathe. But can you imagine being allergic to something that makes up more than 60% of your body? That's the case for Utah high schooler Alexandra Allen, who was diagnosed at age 12 with aquagenic urticaria: an allergy to water.
It happened after a dip in a hot tub caused Allen to break out in hives. At first, doctors thought she might be reacting to hard water or chemicals in the tub, but subsequent tests determined it wasn't anything in the water. It was the H2O itself. Since then, her reactions have gotten worse, landing her in the hospital at least once. She has had to take precautions, such as short, cold showers and avoiding any activity that would make her sweat.
Doctors say that her condition may get worse as she gets older, but they can't be sure. There's much they don't understand about the disease, which is no surprise. There are only 34 known cases in the world. Allen has gotten in touch with one other sufferer in England, who has given her advice and some perspective on being water intolerant. "I think I'm lucky, compared to a lot of other diseases I could have had," she told Deseret News. "At least this is tolerable and manageable."
Despite her condition, as well as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, Allen manages to excel in school, plays sports, and maintains a blog for her writing. She even has a dream of living on a sailboat, which will certainly be challenging. But considering her competency and ambition, I wouldn't be surprised if she pulled it off.