Imagine having a baby whose face blistered when they cried, or who developed painful hives when submerged in a bath. This is the reality for one US family. Their daughter has a very severe allergy to water – and even a few drops can result in a serious reaction and excruciating pain.
Allergic to water
Toddler Ivy Angerman is just 18 months old, but she’s already been through the wringer health wise. Ivy was diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria, which causes urticaria (also known as hives) to develop rapidly when her skin comes into contact with water.
Even shedding a few tears will cause Ivy’s face to swell up. Her family say she must avoid rain or snow and having a bath is sheer torture.
“It’s something we still can’t wrap our heads around,” Ivy’s mother, Brittany told People Magazine, explaining that the condition first appeared when her daughter was about six months old, and that environmental and dietary changes had no impact on these terrible outbreaks.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Brittany said. “She used to love the bath and now she’s screaming bloody murder when we have to wash her. It feels like a third-degree burn. She runs around screaming that she’s hot. It’s so hard to watch as a mother.”
Life-changing and debilitating
Brittany says they bathe their daughter twice a week, but that her condition is getting worse. They’re careful to limit activities to things that are less messy, in the hope that they can avoid bath time.
Antihistamines can reduce the reaction time, but Ivy usually suffers from between 15 minutes and an hour if water touches her skin. Unfortunately she’s now becoming immune to the reaction-fighting antihistamines. Doctors have advised reducing the dosage and limiting medication to bath days only, in the hopes that it can continue to ease Ivy’s suffering.
Brittany says she’s now noticing that when her daughter urinates after drinking anything containing water, flare-ups are occurring. She’s very worried about how this allergy might progress.
“We love her to death and we’ll do whatever it takes,” Brittany says, “but we’re also very scared for her future … I wonder if one day her throat will start to swell up when she drinks it. We don’t know if she’ll be able to go to daycare or what job she’ll be able to have in the future.”
Ivy’s family are now raising funds to move to a more suitable home, conscious of keeping their daughter’s body temperature constant and comfortable.
“The house we’re renting now was built in 1901 and doesn’t have air conditioning,” Brittany explains. “It’s a house that is very hard to keep cool and will be extremely difficult for Ivy when it gets warm.”
You can help Ivy and her family by supporting their Go Fund Me appeal here.