Student allergic to her own tears suffers cuts on tongue when she drinks water – Today News
04
December

By Adem Lewis / in , , , /


 A university student has told how she is allergic to her own tears, saliva and sweat and can only shower twice a month  Even drinking water can cause cuts on Tessa Hansen-Smith’s tongue.  She was just 10 when doctors realised that she was allergic to water after she broke out in rashes while having a shower  Now 21, Tessa was diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria, a debilitating and incurable condition which can lead to a fever, migraine and rashes, and severely disrupts her daily life  The young woman, from California, currently takes nine tablets a day in the hope of keeping her rare illness stable  Tessa said: “It’s a really difficult condition to have as I’m even allergic to my own tears, saliva and sweat  “I’m really prone to heat exhaustion and have to avoid physical activity.  “I even have to be shuttled around my campus at college because otherwise I show up to my class with a fever, migraine and rashes making it really difficult to concentrate  “I suffer with a lot of muscle fatigue and nausea too; the sickness is usually caused by me eating something with a lot of water in foods like some fruits and vegetables  “Even drinking water can cause cuts on my tongue.”  Tessa first showing signs of the condition at eight-years-old when showering frequently caused her to come out in a rash  Initially, she assumed the rashes were due to her potentially being allergic to certain soaps she was using  She said: “I’m really lucky because my mum is a family medicine doctor so, when I kept coming out in these rashes, her first guess was that I was allergic to my soap or shampoo  “With this in mind, we one by one took them out to see which products I didn’t react to  “To help the rashes I’d take an allergy tablet which got rid of them but aquagenic urticaria gets worse with age, so that no longer works for me like it did ”  Tessa and her mum had to conduct a lot of their own research to get to the bottom of her allergy – her mum has been her primary doctor since showing signs of the condition  She added: “Having aquagenic urticaria can be a mental game at times – it’s hard to take so many tablets everyday knowing that it’s not actually ever going to stop  “At one point I was taking 12 tablets a day; currently I’m taking nine.  “I’m frequently reminded that there’s no cure to aquagenic urticaria and that I’ll never really be fully better which is definitely a difficult thing to hear sometimes ”  Despite the daily challenges, Tessa is determined to not let her condition completely control her life  She said: “I have always been very determined to be independent and leave my home town for college  “I try my best to take things one day at a time because some days are better than others  “If I’m able to see my friends and loved ones without having to leave early due to feeling sick, or make it to all my classes in one day, I see that as a win in my book ”


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