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Allergic to…. what?

Pacific Prime Allergies
Bizarre Allergies

Feeling the cold winter months changing into the warmer blossoming spring, is a welcoming experience for most people.  However, if you are one of the many people who suffer with allergies, Spring is more like a synonym for Misery. People with allergies get all sorts of unpleasant physical symptoms similar to the flu.  Like stuffy noses, congestion, sneezing, dry eyes, pressure headaches, dizziness, and all around discomfort. They feel miserable and are horrified at the sight of a Persian cat, blooming flowers, or a warm breeze spreading pollen,…but things could be worse.  You could be one of the people who have unique allergies to the sunlight, wood, or even water.

Below are brief examples of these rare and unusual allergies that engulf people’s lives around the globe.

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The Sun…how?

Spending the day relaxing at the beach soaking up the sun’s rays sounds like a perfect way to spend the day? Definitely, not if the skin becomes irritated with rashes, blisters, or hives from it.  These poor people with this reaction have a sun allergy, or medically known as solar urticaria.

If they staying in exposure to the sun can cause them to become physically ill.  These symptoms are similar to a severe flu with dizziness, headaches, weakness, raised temperature, the chills, and even vomiting. It is similar symptoms to heat stroke, but it happens much quicker. There are also visible signs on the skin, such as redness, rashes, blisters, and even hives.  Fortunately, this allergy is treatable. Following the recommendations from a doctor will help ease the suffering.  One should limit time spent in the sun, try to stay in shaded areas, and cover the skin as much as possible. Even on a cloudy day it would be beneficial to wear long sleeves, as you can still be affected by the sun.  The suffers can be prescribe different forms of treatment to help “cure” them such as creams, antihistamines, desensitization (gradual exposure to build up a tolerance) or immunosuppressions (for severe suffers).

The next time you are headed to the beach be thankful you can relax in the sand without a full body cover up.

 

H2O…water?

We’ve all had those days, that we worked really hard either moving into a new place, doing yard work on a hot sunny day, running a marathon or hiking in the mountains. Usually a person would cool down, clean up and refresh themselves with a hot shower. On the other hand if you are one of the few people who suffer from aquagenic urticaria, it wouldn’t be so invigorating because the skin starts to burn and becomes itchy as breaks out into hives or painful rashes from every drop of water; the hotter the water the quicker the reaction. In addition, to the skin aggravation and discomfort, the eyes also become dry, red and painful.  These surface irritations can come not only from a shower, but also from their own sweat and tears.  On of top of this, drinking water can be especially difficult with this allergy,  water will cause their throat to close and make breathing hard.  The safest water for them to consume is distilled since it lacks some of the molecules found in most forms of water.

Aquagenic urticaria is ultra rare and affects only “one out of every 23 million people in the world”.  The unfortunate fact for the sufferers is that there is no cure for this allergy and they will be plagued with this for the rest of their lives.  Fortunately there are remedies for the outbreaks to assist in clearing the skin, such as antihistamines like Benadryl or strong prescriptions. The next time you get caught in the rain, and are thinking how horrible it is…be thankful you are not allergic to water.

 

Timber…wood?

Building a bookshelf out of wood can be challenge for most people if you are not a carpenter,  but it would be near impossible if you were allergic to wood.  There is the common symptoms to allergy flare ups like coughing, sneezing, stuffed nose, and red watery eyes.  In addition it causes hives and severe rashes.  The rashes can become so intense that the skin looks as if it had been burned. The suffering can prevent them from using pencils, touching all paper products…even using a disposable napkins.  Imagine going into Starbucks and not being able to get your morning latte to go!!!!

There is relief in knowing that most sufferers are specific to the type of wood they are allergic to, which helps from confining them.  There are some victims of this wood sensitivity that can not be around any type of wood.  Which would make a walk through the forest excruciating.

Touching…what?

As humans it is in our nature to need contact with others.  A pat on the back to signify a job well done, a mother holding her child’s hand as they cross the street, or giving an old friend a huge hug at the airport would not be as welcoming if you were one of the thousands plagued by dermographism, or having an allergic reaction to touch.  One who poses this “touch sensitivity” breaks out into hives or rashes on the skin where they are touched. It can be so severe that skinny jeans, a tight belt, shoes laces tied too tight, or even sitting on a hard surface can cause the uncomfortable outbreak.  Unfortunately, there is no real treatment or remedy for this condition, other than time.

 

Working Out…really?

A joking excuse for some people who hate physical activities or are just being plain lazy is that they are allergic to exercising.  It sounds like a ridiculous cop-out and an excuse not to get off the couch and workout.  Crazily, there are about “1,000 known cases” who actually would be telling the truth…they are allergic to exercise.  In reality it is more specifically “exercise-induced anaphylaxis” which is a “severe, even life-threatening, allergic reaction”.   The cause is in correlation between eating certain foods before exercising.   It  is mostly seen when the “victim” is unknowingly allergic to certain foods or medications and works out after ingesting them. Common foods are wheat, shellfish, certain fruits, some vegetables, or nuts and the drugs such as ibuprofen, antibiotics, cold medicine, vitamins or herbal supplements. The recognizable reactions are tiredness, sweating, overheating, itching, redness of the skin, rashes, hives, fainting, unconsciousness, throat swelling, difficulty breathing, choking, nausea and/or vomiting. It is treatable similar to the way food allergies are, depending on the severity hospitalization may be required. So the next time a person utters the words “I am allergic to exercise”, think twice.  They might just be telling the truth.

 

Technology…seriously?

It is nine o’clock in the evening.  There is a movie about to be streamlined from the computer to the television set via Apple TV.  The microwave is humming as it melts the cheese for the nachos. Then there is a ding, you reach for your smartphone to check the text message just received.  This could be a relaxing common night for any of us.  But what if these nightly activity caused your head to be in pain and digestion to be difficult?  What if rashes appeared on your face, while your eyes grew swollen?

Sounds a bit crazy, but unfortunately for some this is very real. They are can not handle being around the “electromagnetic waves” sent off by modern technology.  This is known as hypersensitivity syndrome or EHS.   Although the people who suffer from this EHS recognize the symptoms and know they are allergic, the medical community has not fully accepted EHS as an allegory.  However, more research and treatment methods are being studied to help understand more about this growing epidemic and how to help.

So the next time you are on the subway heading off to work while listening to music and playing Angry Birds, be thankful you can.

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