10 Of The Strangest Allergies In The World
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, more than 50 million Americans deal with allergies every year, amounting to a whopping $18 billion of annual spending on treatment and prevention. Yes, allergic reactions are a widespread rash on American life. And while common conditions, like those from bee stings and peanut exposure, make up the majority of such cases, there are some downright weird allergies out there—some almost too bizarre to believe. Whether it’s due to your own biology or to that device in your pocket, here are the strangest allergies on the planet:
Ironically enough, it is possible to develop an allergy to allergy medicine. However, people who suffer from this allergy are usually sensitive to the dyes and additives found in the medicines and not the anti-allergy chemicals themselves, which means that it is possible for these sufferers to find relief with special allergy medications.
For people with cholinergic urticaria, working out—particularly in the summertime—proves to be a real pain. Whenever their skin is exposed to heat or sweat, these folks break out in itchy hives. And in severe cases, this can even lead to a case of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction in which the body goes into shock and stops breathing.
Apologies to the Funky Bunch, but, for some people, vibrations are anything but good. For people who suffer from a condition known as vibratory urticaria, coming into contact with something that’s vibrating—a lawnmower, a motorcycle, a mountain bike—can cause swelling, itching, headaches, and blurry vision. Luckily, this allergy is so rare that, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the number of people afflicted with it is still unknown.
Most people exit a scorching bath with lobster-red skin, but for someone with aquagenic urticaria—or a water allergy—such is the case with every bath and shower, regardless of temperature. Once a person with aquagenic urticaria removes themselves from the water, their hives will fade within the hour—but should they come back into contact with a water source, their symptoms will start up all over again. And it’s not just the shower that will cause an allergic reaction—going swimming, getting caught in a downpour, and even something as innocuous as doing the dishes will also cause a flare-up. (Wear gloves!)
Your Own Child
As if carrying a baby for nine months isn’t excruciating enough as it is, there are some moms-to-be out there who also have to deal with a painful pregnancy-related skin allergy called pemphigoid gestationis. This autoimmune disease, which usually manifests during the second or third trimester, causes itchy bumps and blisters on the abdomen that spread to other parts of the body.
Some allergy triggers, like dog hair and shellfish, are relatively easy to avoid, but one allergy that’s almost impossible to steer clear of is sunlight. People with solar urticaria can take medications to control their symptoms, but if left untreated, exposure to sunlight can cause everything from a skin rash to nausea.
For people with dermatographia, so much as a light scratch becomes a raised red line and causes the skin to swell and welt up, kind of like what someone with a feline allergy would experience after getting scratched by a cat. According to Healthline, approximately five percent of the population suffers from dermatographia, though many people with the allergy don’t ever seek medical treatment.
It’s relatively normal for a woman’s time of the month to be accompanied by cramps, moodiness, and uncomfortable bloating, which makes menstruation quite the dreaded occurrence. But for a select few women, those few days every month are especially loathed, seeing as their autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD) causes them to break out in hives and swell beneath the skin. Evidently, APD is not caused by the period itself, but by the rise in female hormone progesterone during the second half of menstruation.
Some people are allergic to certain produce (eggplant, tomatoes) no matter what, and other people are only allergic to fruits if they are raw and pollinated. These latter folk suffer from oral allergy syndrome, which occurs when the proteins in a raw fruit or vegetable cross-react with pollen. Fruits that commonly trigger this allergy include apples, celery, melons, peaches, and bananas.
Known as cold urticaria, this allergy is triggered when the body experiences a sudden drop in temperature. Doctors confirm this uncommon condition by holding an ice cube on a patient’s skin for a few minutes and waiting for a reaction.
Do you or anyone you know suffer from allergies? Share your experiences in the comments below.