The toddler who is allergic to water

  • 25/02/2018
Ivy Angerman has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition.
Ivy Angerman has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition. Photo credit: Brittany Angerman/GoFundMe

An American toddler has been diagnosed with an exceedingly rare allergy - plain water.

Ivy Angerman, an 18-month-old from Minnesota, can only stand about 15 seconds of contact with water before her skin blisters and she breaks out into a rash.

Parents Brittany and Dan became concerned when their daughter's skin turned red while bathing, but initially assumed she was allergic to soap or shampoo, they told Metro.

It was only when they took her to the doctor that they learned the real culprit was plain water. Ivy was diagnosed with aquagenic urticarial, an exceedingly rare form of hives with just 50 recorded cases.

The Angermans have to clean their daughter using hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes instead. They've restricted bath time to once a week, which is always extremely painful for her.

"I'm effectively washing my daughter in bleach," Mrs Angerman told Metro.

Ivy can't even cry as the tears cause her face to blister as well. When she sweats she breaks out in a rash, and she has to be careful to stay out of the rain.

Antihistamines help, but the Angermans only give them to their daughter on days where they know she'll have to get wet as they are afraid her body could become immune to them.

Because aquagenic urticarial is so rare, there's very little information available on how it might affect Ivy later in life. Her parents hope that she will still be able to drink regular water, as others with the condition have had to resort to diet Coke or other liquids to stay hydrated instead.

Mrs Angerman says she's concerned for when Ivy starts school.

"What happens if one day a child at school decides to pour water over her? I'm worried she will get bullied or teased for it when she's older," she told Metro.

"She's going to miss out on certain activities and won't be able to do everything her friends will."

The family is trying to raise US$25,000 (NZ$34,291) through GoFundMe to help pay for Ivy's medicine, as well as research that could hopefully one day cure her condition.