Teen develops rare allergy to WATER, says crying or getting wet feels like 'being doused in gas and set on fire'

Teen develops rare allergy to WATER, says crying or getting wet feels like 'being doused in gas and set on fire'
Sadie Tessmer, 14, who is allergic to water, her own tears, and sweat was diagnosed with the condition of aquagenic urticaria in May 2022 ( Sadie Tessmer/ Facebook)

BUFFALO, MISSOURI: A 14-year-old-girl, Sadie Tessmer is diagnosed with a rare condition called, aquagenic urticaria. This is a case of an allergy to water and is extremely rare, with only about 100 people or less than one-in-230 million thought to be affected worldwide.

Medically, there is no cure for this condition. Also, experts caution that the flare-ups could be fatal if they become too severe. The teen from Buffalo claims that she can't get wet without her skin breaking out in painful red hives that feel like "being doused with gasoline and set on fire."


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The rare disease was diagnosed in May and Sadie had always loved to go swimming. However, this rare condition has put an end to her fun times as these red rashes keep erupting and turns itchy. Sadie has also dropped soccer games which was yet another favorite activity that makes her sweat and causes triggering symptoms. She has also left her school which insists on physical education classes. Meanwhile, this summer she has mostly spent at home avoiding the outdoors and beach in case the hot and humid weather makes her sweat.


However, she is still able to drink water and does it through a straw because if it touches her lips, her skin breaks out into a rash. According to DailyMail, Sadie stated, "At times, it feels like someone is pouring gasoline on my body and setting me on fire and it itches." She then said, "I always get a reaction when I shower or wash my hands, or even cry or sweat. It will hurt so much that I will start crying and that makes it worse because I'm allergic to my own tears which stresses me out." Sadie explained, "I try to avoid getting water on my face or neck because I don't want to go into anaphylactic shock. I have EpiPens but it's terrifying."


Sadie was taken to a doctor in May by her mother, Amber Sallee. The dermatologist took a water challenge test to diagnose the rare condition. The test involves applying a cloth dampened with room temperature water to the skin for 20 minutes to see if the patient develops hives.


Later, her skin formed red hives and was responding to the test. When she was diagnosed, Sadie said, "It just didn't seem real, I didn't think you could be allergic to water. If someone told me they were, I would think they were lying. I would take a shower to show myself it's not real, and it just makes me more upset."  She also said, "It makes me feel super lonely because I feel like I am the only person who has it." Further, she stated, "I keep thinking my life is over. I wanted to be in the military my whole life, and I found out I can't do that anymore because I can't exercise, which was devastating."

Aquagenic Urticaria is a rare condition (Screenshot via healthline.com)
Aquagenic Urticaria is a rare condition (Screenshot via healthline.com)

Sallee, mother of Sadie said, "It’s really heart-breaking as a parent knowing there is nothing you can do. She comes out the shower bright red and crying, and I have to try not to cry or she’ll cry even more." Further, she added, "We live in a very hot and humid area, and there are heatwaves, so it gets pretty intense and I’m so worried. When winter comes, I love dragging my children out into the snow but we can’t even do that." She then stated, "I am just hoping more research is done, just to make sure she can live a full life, doing all the things she wants to."

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