What You Need To Know About Water Allergy

Water has been regarded as life’s elixir, with the proverb “water has no enemy” for centuries. However, some people experience discomfort and irritation when they come into contact with water.

You may have seen someone who has severe itching or redness after bathing or coming into contact with water, leaving you wondering what is going on. This is a skin ailment called aquagenic pruritus.

This skin issue is fairly common but rarely mentioned, leaving those affected with no idea what it is all about.

A study found that aquagenic pruritus affects up to 23.8% of young Nigerian people.

What is aquagenic pruritus?

Aquagenic pruritus is an uncommon skin disorder that causes significant itching quickly after contact with water.

However, it does not produce apparent signs like hives or rashes. People who have this illness get symptoms within minutes of being exposed to water.

The itching and burning sensations can last an hour or more, depending on the severity of the illness.

Any temperature and type of water, even rainwater, might cause this disease. A study found that rainwater, followed by cold water, is the most common trigger for the disease.

What causes aquagenic pruritus?

Aquagenic pruritus tends to be a complex condition, and its exact cause is unknown.

However, several factors may contribute to its development according to studies.

  • Genetic Factor: A study suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition to aquagenic pruritus, as the condition can run in families. So it can be hereditary.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as bupropion, and medication for depression, have been found as potential triggers for aquagenic pruritus in some individuals.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Aquagenic pruritus is often associated with certain underlying medical conditions, such as polycythemia vera (a type of blood cancer) or autoimmune diseases. A study also found that nearly two-thirds of people with polycythemia vera have aquagenic pruritus. These conditions may disrupt normal skin function and contribute to the development of aquagenic pruritus.

What are the symptoms of aquagenic pruritus?

The symptoms of aquagenic pruritus can vary in severity from person to person and may fluctuate over time. Some common symptoms include:

  • Severe itching
  • Stinging
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Redness
  • Discomfort or irritation associated with water contact

How can aquagenic pruritus treated?

Unfortunately, aquagenic pruritus has no cure but there is a wide range of treatments, including medications, procedures, and natural remedies.

Some of these treatments include:

  • Antihistamines: Oral antihistamine medications may be recommended to help alleviate itching and reduce allergic reactions associated with aquagenic pruritus.
  • Medication adjustments: If aquagenic pruritus is associated with an underlying medical condition or medication, adjusting or discontinuing the use of certain medications may help alleviate symptoms. However, consulting medical professionals is crucial before making medication changes.
  • Phototherapy: In severe cases, phototherapy may be considered as a treatment option. Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet (UV) light under controlled conditions, which can help reduce inflammation and itching associated with certain skin conditions.

Some other precautions that can be taken to control aquagenic pruritus include;

  • Use tap water rather than rainwater for bathing where it is possible
  • Apply emollients
  • Always use warm water when bathing
  • Stop using hard sponges on your skin
  • You can also add baking soda to the water before bathing. A study has proven that baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate can raise the pH of the water and may help lessen symptoms.

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