A Girl with the Rarest of Allergies!
Niah Selway from East Sussex, a county in South East England, has such extreme responses that a single drop of water can cause an exceptional consuming all over her body that will keep going for quite a long time.
The 21-year-old has Aquagenic Pruritus, an allergy that only affects very few people worldwide and has no known cause.
Niah’s internal organs aren’t affected by the condition, so she is able to drink water but if it touches her skin it’s a different matter.
Niah runs a Youtube channel and known as the ‘Girl who’s allergic to water’.
Niah said “I am suffering in a really severe way, and no medication or treatment has had any substantial effect. It doesn’t matter where the water touches me, if a drop touches my arm the pain will spread to my back and torso, sometimes to my whole body”.
“When I have a bath my whole body burns for hours on end. Over time I worked out a routine, either way it’s painful but I have found ways to make it a little less traumatic,” she added.
“For instance, I don’t wash my hair in the bath anymore, I do it separately to feel less pain. There are so many things people don’t think about, such as sweat, urine, and tears. Sometimes I’ll have a reaction on my body, I’ll start crying because of it and have one on my face too. It is basically a disability because of the things I can no longer do”.
“In the morning I get to the toilet and I’ll have an allergic reaction to the first thing I do. I also can’t do much exercise apart from yoga and walking because I can’t sweat, and on hot days I’ll have to be stuck in front of the fan”.
At the age of five, Niah experienced her first reaction, that got worse as she got older, becoming even more severe over the past couple of years.
“Initially it would happen about every 10 showers. The doctors weren’t showing any concern for it, so I thought maybe I am just not good at dealing with pain. Then in my teens, it became every single shower or bath, and it got to the point where I wasn’t able to ignore it.” Niah said.
The support from her family and boyfriend have helped her to go through the hard times. Niah now tries to concentrate on being positive.
Dr Adil Sheraz, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said: “Aquagenic Pruritus is an uncommon and distressing condition that results in severe itching almost immediately after contact with water.
“There is no visible change on the skin, the itching can last for an hour or more. Underlying causes for AP remain unknown, theories proposed include a breakdown of mast cells that lead to histamine and thus an itch. Although this is an uncommon condition it is probably under-reported and misdiagnosed.”
Niah further explained “ I stopped focusing on what’s going to happen and try to make now as positive as it can be. My family has been amazing, even in little things, like doing the dishes. They just take all water-related responsibilities away from me, and they have adapted their lives around mine”
“I always worried when my condition got bad that my friends would leave me because I couldn’t do stuff with them, like going out and clubbing. But they are amazing, they are really understanding and make any effort to try and see me.”
Because of her condition Niah is barely ready to go out and will soon be declared unfit to work in her position at an insurance agency.
She added: “There are days when my skin is awful from time to finish, and I just spend my time looking after my illness. The thought of rain is also terrifying, so I never go outside if there’s the chance it’s going to rain. I am in my own little bubble trying to deal with the pain, and I do what I can whenever it stops.”