Tessa, allergica all’acqua: la storia di una donna con sangue e lividi durante la doccia

Tessa Hansen-Smith, a 25-year-old woman from Fresno, California, has been living with a rare condition called aquagenic urticaria since she was 8 years old. This condition, which affects approximately 250 people worldwide, makes her allergic to water. Tessa cannot even cry or sweat without developing painful and bleeding bruises on her skin. Her story has gained international attention, and she has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for her medical expenses and future aspirations.

Tessa dreams of becoming a nurse and hopes to regain a sense of normalcy in her life. She shared her struggles, saying that after taking a shower, she would develop large bruises on her skin, and her scalp would bleed. Her mother, Karen, who is a family physician, was the first to notice her daughter’s condition after years of tests and consultations with specialists. Karen admits feeling guilty for not understanding her daughter’s illness sooner. Aquagenic urticaria is a rare condition described by the National Institutes of Health as a disorder in which hives develop quickly after the skin comes into contact with water, regardless of its temperature. The exact causes of this condition are still unknown, but it is more common in women.

When Tessa drinks water or consumes foods with high water content, she experiences a burning sensation. To manage this, she primarily relies on milk, as its water content is offset by fats and proteins. Maintaining proper hygiene is a challenge for Tessa. Showering for more than five minutes and trying not to faint or hyperventilate from the water’s impact is not the relaxing experience it is for others. Despite this, she occasionally showers but avoids activities that may cause her to sweat or get dirty.

Tessa combats body odor by shaving and using deodorant when possible, as even alternatives to water are not beneficial for her. She mentions using specially designed wet wipes to clean her body but admits that they also cause pain. On social media, Tessa shares her frustration and posts pictures of the patches on her skin, all while maintaining her smile despite her condition worsening.

Many people don’t believe Tessa’s condition, and she has had to convince them by asking them to purposely spray water on her while she was studying at the University of California, Davis campus. When the Covid pandemic hit, Tessa returned home and remained there until severe dehydration led to ischemic colitis, resulting in her hospitalization. During her hospital stay, complications arose, such as the formation of multiple superficial blood clots and at least one deep blood clot in her right arm, according to her Instagram post.

Her hospitalization and subsequent rehabilitation have left Tessa’s family in debt, with medical bills accumulating to $8,000. She started the GoFundMe campaign to help cover her medical expenses and make ends meet. The campaign has already raised over $12,000 in donations, but Tessa and her family continue to struggle with their financial burden.