The story of Tessa, allergic to water: she cannot drink and wash herself. She can’t even cry

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By John

There are diseases that don’t even allow you to drink and wash. These are extreme cases, like the one involving Tessa Hansen-Smith, a 25-year-old from Fresno in California forced to live a real ordeal from the age of 8.

The young woman is, in fact, allergic to water and, ironically, she cannot even cry or sweat, unless it happens that she will be covered in bruises which lead to burning pain and blood. The American girl suffers from aquagenic urticaria, a rare disease that affects just 250 people worldwide. A borderline situation which also involves huge expenses to pay and which pushed Tessa to launch a collection on GoFundMe to be able to pay medical expenses and look to the future. Tessa told the US broadcaster Abc30 that she dreams of becoming a nurse: “I hope to be able to go back to school again, to be able to work, to find a sense of normality in life.”

What he can drink and how he washes himself

Tessa mostly drinks milk, while washing herself is a real challenge: “Staying in the shower for more than 5 minutes, while trying not to pass out while hyperventilating when the jet hits me, is not an experience like it can be for others.” But she, she says, has to take a shower every now and then, despite avoiding any activity that could make her sweat (or dirty). What she often does is shave and use deodorant “everywhere possible”, but “even that doesn’t make me feel good”.

A situation that has lasted since he was 8 years old

“I got out of the shower and I had huge bruises on my skin, my scalp was bleeding,” she said. Her mother Karen, a family doctor, was the first to realize her daughter’s problem. Years of tests and odysseys between specialists followed. And the woman, she says, “feels guilty for not having understood her disease much earlier”, a “rare condition” described by the National Institutes of Health as a disorder “in which hives develop rapidly after the skin enters in contact with water, regardless of its temperature”. The causes of the pathology, which “affects women more commonly”, are still unknown.