Inspired by this tale - https://www.thefreelibrary.com/JUST+ONE+CUP+OF+WATER+COULD+KILL+LITTLE+HEIDI%3B+Girl%27s+deadly+allergy...-a061152595

Let's say someone is so allergic to H2O that a sip of water will send them into anaphylactic shock, (requiring a shot of adrenaline every time they take a sip of water) and if they get IV'd with a drip, they react to the water being injected into their body (such as is the case with the link I posted above).

I'm not talking about a mere skin irritation that isn't actually an allergy (Aquagenic Urticaria - which doesn't affect drinking as it's a skin condition only), I'm talking a full on potentially life threatening allergy to the H2O molecule when it is ingested as well like in the story above.

Basically, every time the mast cell immunoglobulins (located outside of the cell, along its surface) saw H2O molecules, it'd cause the mast cells to degranulate and release histamine.

Is it plausible that a person would live so long as to get a news article made about them?

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    The article you linked is really confusing: She can't drink water but she can drink milk and orange juice, which are mostly water? Her condition is termed "aquagenic urticaria," which is a type of physical urticaria, you said you do not want to discuss. As far as I know, there is no true "allergy to water." Otherwise, someone would have constant symptoms from his/her own body water.
    – Jan
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 10:31
  • What's more confusing is Aquagenic Urticaria is a skin condition and shouldn't I'm not entirely sure why the article says she has Aquagenic Urticaria since she doesn't just react on her skin but also inside her body. affect drinking. It isn't even an allergy.
    – Willy150
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


Due to the rarity of the condition, pathogenesis is poorly understood. According to Aung, Montelibano, & Zin (2017), water may act as a solvent in aquagenic urticaria, solubilizing an antigen that permeates the skin and activates dermal mast cells. It is also possible that water may interact with sebum to form a substance capable of acting as a direct mast cell degranulator. 

Is it plausible that a person would live so long as to get a news article made about them?

There is a recent paper I found (Fukumoto, et al. 2018) which might shed some light on the subject.

The paper discussed an 8-year-old girl who suffered a history of shortness of breath, syncope and urticaria induced by cold water.

Treatment of AU remains a discussion. Although AU has been reportedly mediated in both a histamine-dependent and independent manner, antihistamines have been recommended as the first-line treatment. Barrier creams, ultraviolet radiation monotherapy, and ultraviolet therapy in combination with anti-histamines are also reported treatments for AU. The patient's condition has been successfully controlled with loratadine. This result supports the hypothesis that histamine is involved in AU.


Aung, T., Montelibano, L., & Zin, K. (2017). P184 Aquagenic urticaria. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 119(5), S49.
DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2017.08.237

Fukumoto, T., Ogura, K., Fukunaga, A., & Nishigori, C. (2018). Aquagenic urticaria: Severe extra-cutaneous symptoms following cold water exposure. Allergology International, 67(2), 295-297.
DOI: 10.1016/j.alit.2017.10.007
Free PDF: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/allergolint/67/2/67_295/_pdf

  • The case I refer to in my original post seems to be something different than Aquagenic Urticaria as Aquagenic Urticaria is a skin irritation and not considered a true allergy, whereas the person in the link I gave goes into anaphylactic shock whenever she drinks a sip of water or is given a drip containing water. It isn't limited to just her skin.
    – Willy150
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 22:59
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    @Willy150 The case in your link explicitly says "The condition - known as aquagenic urticaria". The venue of publication is "The people". That sounds very much like yellow press at its worst. Can you find a more reliable outlet that mentions this case? (I did not follow up that link at first as I dismissed the entire post as stupid joke or highly theoretical 'what if' question). Currently, I read that link still as tabloid bonkers. Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 23:22
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    Hm. The label given is AU in all these "cases". Then there is this sole pubmed doi: 10.5021/ad.2017.29.3.341? Anyone access to PMID: 29252177? Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 23:33
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    @LangLangC - The PDF for PMID 29252177 is available at the source hrcak.srce.hr/file/276859 Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 7:19
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    Reading the reddit link provided by @LangLangC had some valid points I didn't think about, 1 example is that the body is 70% water Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 7:25

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