While these are the most common, there are other allergy triggers you may not be so familiar with.
How about water? Yes, it is possible to be allergic to one of the most abundant substances in the world, including the water in our own bodies. People with this condition, properly known as aquagenic urticaria, can experience severe itching and hives within five minutes of coming into contact with water, regardless of its source or temperature.
This condition is rare – only around 30 cases have been reported in the literature and the reason for it isn’t known. Worse still for those affected, histamine levels — the usual allergy culprit — don’t actually increase in these patients, meaning that traditional antihistamines don’t work.
While it might be hard to envision a life without water, spare a thought for women who are allergic to their own female hormones. Although it’s not uncommon for women to suffer from acne, water retention and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at certain times their cycle, a small number of women suffer from a condition called autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD). This skin disorder is triggered by progesterone hypersensitivity after ovulation.
And speaking of women’s problems – just imagine if you were allergic to semen. While it’s more common in women, we need to point out that it’s also possible for men to be allergic to their own sperm.
Dutch researchers recently reported 45 cases of post-orgasmic illness syndrome. In both cases, the men experienced allergic symptoms around their eyes and nose, and transient flu-like symptoms within seconds, minutes or hours after sex, masturbation or spontaneous ejaculation. Yikes!
As if life without water or sex is difficult to contemplate, imagine if you were allergic to the weather. In some people, a drop in the temperature can set off an inflammatory disorder known as cold urticaria. Patients with the condition can experience redness, itching, swelling, hives and, in rare cases, death when they come in contact with cold air, cold water or even cold drinks. For others it’s the sun that’s the problem. Solar urticaria, can cause similar symptoms within minutes of exposure, in affected individuals.
And if all of this has left you feeling a little faint, be careful where you lie down! Although as we told you earlier soybeans are a common food allergen, and sufferers need to omit soy products from their diet, soybean allergies can be triggered by beanbags. According to a case study reported in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, a 6-year-old boy experienced respiratory distress while playing at school. His reaction was apparently triggered by dust from the dry soybeans in the beanbag.
Are you allergic to anything strange? Share your stories and suffering with us!