Meet the Toowoomba teenager allergic to water

INSET: Alex Mackay breaks out in red bumps when she comes into contact with water.
INSET: Alex Mackay breaks out in red bumps when she comes into contact with water.

IMAGINE breaking out in itchy, red spots every time you showered or even sweated.

That is the reality for Toowoomba woman Alex Mackay.

Ever since she was 11-years-old she has had an allergic reaction to water.

Aquagenic urticaria is a term used to describe someone who is allergic to water, and is something that even many medical professionals know nothing about.

Ms Mackay is able to drink water but when it touches her skin it becomes a problem.

She can't shower, go in a pool, go to the beach or even work up a sweat while exercising without breaking out in itchy red bumps on her upper body.

While Ms Mackay's case isn't one of the more severe instances, it still causes upset in her every-day life.

She said when she broke out in a rash it looked like she had been bitten by an insect.

"The bite-looking bumps last for about half an hour and it happens every time I touch water," she said.

RARE REACTION: Alex Mackay and her one-year-old son Noah Pukallus.
RARE REACTION: Alex Mackay and her one-year-old son Noah Pukallus. Meghan Harris

"I still shower every night but after about five minutes I start to badly itch and it's just horrible.

"When I step out of the shower and I am so crazy itchy all I can think of is 'I am going to have to live with this for the rest of my life'."

Ms Mackay has been to doctors numerous times but she said nothing had changed and she just used cream to ease the itching.

She tried changing soaps and creams but nothing worked.

She's lived with the condition for eight years, but oddly when she fell pregnant with her now one-year-old son, her allergy subsided and for nine glorious months she could touch water without breaking out in a rash.

"When I was pregnant it just stopped. It was the weirdest thing," she said.

"But it came back after I gave birth to my son Noah."

Ms Mackay said she loved going swimming but felt insecure when people saw her reaction to the water.

"I love to go to the beach but I feel so insecure thinking everyone will see all my red marks and so as soon as I get out of the water I wrap a towel around me to hide it," she said.

She posted photos of her upper body on the Girls' Advice Facebook page, showing what her skin looked like after stepping out of the shower. She wanted to know if any other women had similar issues.

The post received quite a large response with some girls offering advice, and some even sharing photos of similar issues.

"I was shocked to see a few other girls with the same sort of things," she said.

"It's just a horrible thing to live with."

Topics:  editors picks reaction teenager toowoomba water

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