What is Aquagenic Urticaria disease ? Symptoms and Diagnosis


Today we will discuss about a dangerous disease “Aquagenic Urticaria” a water allergically disorder with an example of Tessa Hansen Smith, a brave young lady coming from California, USA, is courageously sharing her experience of living with an invisible disease to give support and understanding to people experiencing similar struggles. Tessa faces the unusual and baffling ailment known as Aquagenic Urticaria, an affliction that leaves her hypersensitive to water.

In a recent interview with ABC News, she described her extraordinary journey, saying that she originally had this disease at the juvenile age of eight. Despite earlier enjoying water-related activities without a hitch, Tessa’s life has been significantly affected as even the least exposure to water now provokes extreme itching, rashes, and hives on her skin.

Tessa’s Condition with Aquagenic Urticaria:

Tessa recounted, I would get out of showers and have large welts on my skin, and my scalp would be bleeding after bathing. So, the first thing we sort of did was, ‘OK, let’s take away your shampoos, take away your conditioner, take away whatever soaps you’re using.’ It’s a disease that has caused her to abandon commonplace things we typically take for granted.

Aquagenic Urticaria’s Health Impact:

Remarkably, Tessa’s disease extends beyond skin-deep. Even the simple act of drinking water creates a scorching feeling in her throat and body, making it unpleasant. As a consequence, she now depends on milk as her major source of hydration. Her life has been a continual struggle against this unique and severe ailment.

Dr. Karen Hansen Smith, Tessa’s mother, herself a medical practitioner, carries the enormous load of guilt for not identifying her daughter’s illness (Aquagenic Urticaria) sooner. Despite her significant medical skill and familiarity with unusual diseases, witnessing her kid face such a condition has been very difficult for her. Karen frankly revealed her sadness, stating, It is painful. I still have my kid, she’s 25. She is not living the life she wanted to live.

During her college years, Tessa experienced extra challenges as some folks purposely questioned the genuineness of her ailment by pouring water on her or even throwing ice cubes at her. This led to awkward and upsetting circumstances. Nonetheless, Tessa persisted and succeeded in her academic endeavors, ultimately entering UC Davis after graduating from Clovis Unified Buchanan High School.

She even worked two jobs while studying. However, her health started to worsen, causing her to reassess her college life.

Isolation and Challenges:

Tessa’s disability has separated her from many facets of regular life, especially during the summers when others are enjoying beach getaways and pool parties to combat the heat. She expressed the difficulty of not being able to participate in these activities, saying, that during the summer season, when individuals engage in beach outings and pool gatherings as a means to seek relief from the high temperatures, I find myself unable to partake in these activities, consequently experiencing a sense of isolation and an inability to derive enjoyment from them.

Tessa’s everyday life centers on rigorous attempts to minimize excessive sweating, since perspiration exacerbates her disease. She spends the most of her time inside, participating in hobbies such as producing art, seeking consolation in the companionship of her cats, and burying herself in the pages of books.

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Tessa Hansen Smith’s tale is one of tenacity, courage, and unflinching drive in the face of a unique and severe ailment. Her openness to share her story gives support and empathy to people who suffer with similar invisible Aquagenic Urticaria diseases. As she continues to navigate life with Aquagenic Urticaria, Tessa’s tale stands as a monument to the human spirit’s capacity to persist and inspire, even in the most tough of situations.


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