When we think of allergies, we often think of having a reaction to pets, flowers or that weird rash we get from eating tinned food.
But some allergies are rare and relatively unknown, and can be quite shocking as they involve an allergic reaction to some things we wouldn’t even have thought of.
Did you know that some people have an allergic reaction to water, for example? Yes, it is possible.
Bath-time must be a mission in that household.
Seshego-based general practitioner Dr Matome Moatshe gives us an in-depth account of some of the unusual allergies recorded.
“In layman terms, allergies are caused by the body’s confusion over what the immune system considers harmful, and what is actually not.
“The immune system, which is the body’s defence mechanism against foreign invaders like infections, develops antibodies that help attack these infections.
“When a person has an allergic reaction, however, their antibodies are attaching themselves and attack harmless entities, like cat hair for example. This is how an allergy is formed,” Moatshe says.
Here is a list of some of the weird allergies:
As much as some people have the privilege of basking in the sun, tanning and enjoying the UV rays for the purposes of nourishing their bodies with vitamin D, the sad reality is that there is a percentage of people who are allergic to sun exposure.
The allergy, known as solar urticaria, is rare, and devastating if one has it because it can limit a person’s movements.
Causes of why some people get an allergic reaction to the rays of the sun are unknown, but scientists have said it has a lot to do with the ultraviolet light omitted by the rays of the sun.
Moatshe says a person allergic to the sun would develop an itchy rash, which would disappear shortly after getting out of the sun.
There is no known prevention of this type of allergy, except to avoid direct contact with the sun.
Sunscreen won’t even help. An allegen solution can, however, relieve the itching.
Whether paying the parking ticket or enjoying the slot machines, we use coins daily when making transactions. Imagine how paralysing it would be to develop an allergic reaction to coins.
An allergic reaction to coins is actually an allergic reaction to nickel, which is one of the substances used to make coins, says Moatshe.
The person would typically develop an itchy rash after handling coins. There is no known preventative antidote for a nickel allergy. Rubbing a soothing lotion on the affected area will help with the itchiness and the swelling.
Some women are allergic to semen. While this might not be a problem if a couple are using condoms, it can be quite devastating if the couple are trying to conceive.
“The woman would actually develop a rash and some swelling around the vaginal area.
“Seek urgent help from a gynaecologist, who can give you a diagnosis and administer allergy shots for the treatment,” Moatshe says.
It is almost impossible to envisage anyone having an allergic reaction to water, as it forms such a vital part of everyday life, but for some people, this is a reality.
“The causes of water allergy are unknown, but some people would develop an itchy and painful rash from being in contact with water.
“Thankfully, the symptoms do not usually last for a long time and can go away on their own, but taking allegen or rubbing a cooling or soothing lotion on the affected area usually alleviates the itchiness and stinging.”
“There is no official kissing allergy, but people can get an allergic reaction to whatever the person they are kissing ingested earlier,” says Moatshe.
The next time you see someone fiddling with their bra and tugging at their pants, sympathise.
Some people have a severe allergic reaction to underwear.
“It’s not necessarily underwear, but rather the material the underwear is made of,” Moatshe says.