Highly unusual allergies
Peanuts, wheat, mold -- it seems like these days, everyone is allergic to something. But while the aforementioned offenders are fairly run-of-the-mill, some people have truly atypical allergies. Everything from water to exercise can trigger severe physical reactions -- read on to learn about 10 of the most unusual.
It seems like the most innocuous substance around, but believe it or not, some people are actually allergic to water. Aquagenic urticaria is a rare condition in which water of any temperature causes intensely itchy and painful hives on the skin. Because the cause of this reaction perplexes doctors, an effective treatment hasn't been found, making regular activities -- like showering and swimming -- extremely difficult.
Talk about killing the mood! Known as human seminal plasma hypersensitivity, this condition involves a negative physical reaction to a man's seminal fluid (the liquid that carries sperm). Symptoms include hives, swelling and trouble breathing. The good news? Treatment is available, and can include simply using condoms or exposure therapy (a.k.a. spending plenty of time between the sheets to get desensitized to the reaction).
Though it might seem like a great excuse to avoid the gym, anyone suffering from an exercise allergy will tell you it's not as convenient as it sounds. Symptoms of this condition -- which is called exercise-induced anaphylaxis and urticaria--can range from hives and gastrointestinal problems to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Treatment options include abstaining from physical activity and taking medications like antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers.
Much more than the occasional sunburn, a sun allergy is an immune system reaction to sunlight that often manifests itself as an itchy rash, headache and nausea, but can also cause symptoms as severe as blisters and bleeding under the skin. In extreme cases, just a few minutes of sun exposure can cause a reaction, making it essential for those affected to stay out of the sun and protect their skin with sunscreen.
It's hard to avoid technology these days -- smartphones, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs are seemingly everywhere. But what if you had to steer clear? People suffering from electrosensitivity experience a plethora of physical ailments, including migraines, rashes and chest pains, when they're near anything that creates an electromagnetic field. Electrosensitive people must be vigilant about keeping their home free of things like cell phones and microwaves, and avoid places that might trigger a reaction. A group of sufferers has even moved to an area of southern France that is completely free of electromagnetic fields.
All Food and Drink––Except Water
Australian Kaleb Bussenschutt has a condition that's so rare there isn't even a name for it. If he ingests anything aside from water, ice and one specific brand of lemonade, he has severe and painful stomach problems, including vomiting and stomach ulcers that have put him in the hospital. To get the nutrients he needs, Bussenschutt is fed formula 20 hours a day through a tube, and has to maintain an amazing amount of self-control around real food.