Young mother is left allergic to WATER because complications after giving birth turn her life into a ‘nightmare’
- Cherelle Farrugia, from Cardiff, became allergic to water after giving birth
- Doctors took 3 months to diagnose her with aquagenic urticaria, a rare disease
- The disease is known to affect 35 people worldwide and leaves her in a rash
- Ms Farrugia even has to go to the extreme length of covering up from rain
A young mother said she was ‘borderline suicidal’ after she became allergic to water after giving birth.
Cherelle Farrugia, from Cardiff, gave birth to her daughter Willow in November last year, but six weeks later she broke out in a painful rash every time she came into contact with water.
Doctors took three months to diagnose her with aquagenic urticaria, a condition which is known to affect just 35 people worldwide.
The condition leaves her with hives on her skin after she comes into contact with water, and the Cardiff and Vale College student is now unable to take her daughter swimming.
She even has to take the extreme precaution of covering up when it rains, with the disease making her life a ‘nightmare’.
Cherelle Farrugia, from Cardiff, gave birth to her daughter Willow in November last year, but six weeks later she broke out in a painful rash every time she had a shower
There is no cure for the severe allergy although experts believe it is linked to a change of hormones in Ms Farrugia’s body after she has given birth.
She said: ‘About six weeks after having my daughter I realised that every time I got out of the shower my skin would be really itchy.
‘I initially thought it must be caused by the soap I was using. Then I thought it was the temperature of the water.
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‘But I tried all different temperatures – cold, hot, lukewarm and body temperature – but my body reacted to all of them.’
She said she was able to rule out chlorine allergy and bacteria in the show head as possible causes for the pain.
Ms Farrugia added: ‘I was still reacting to everything but I didn’t think it could possibly be a water allergy. I’d never heard of such a thing.
Ms Farrugia breaks out in painful hives after coming into contact with water, which last for between 30 and 60 minutes
Despite her painful condition, the young mother still showers but has to make sure another person is in the house in case she goes into anaphylactic shock
‘The first doctor I saw told me it was impossible but the second doctor I saw had heard of it and referred me to an allergist.
‘The waiting list on the NHS was five months so I decided to go private.’
The outbreak of hives on Ms Farrugia’s body take between 30 minutes and an hour to subside, and has to make sure someone else is in the house with her if she decides to wash as doctors have told her she may go into anaphylactic shock.
Ms Farrugia, who is training to become a mental health concillor, said she developed postpartum depression following the birth of Willow, which is likely to have triggered the allergy.
She said: ‘It was horrific and it hit me out of nowhere. I was borderline suicidal.
‘I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t leave the house, and I was convinced something was going to happen to my daughter. I wouldn’t get anyone hold her.
‘But I am very fortunate to be super close to my mum and dad and my partner is amazing.’
Despite her condition, she still takes regular showers but is quick to monitor her contact with water. Luckily her condition does not affect her internally so she is able to still drink water.
‘I have OCD so this condition is a nightmare for me as I always want to be clean. I make sure I dry the water off my skin really quickly.’
She believes the condition is more common than the figures suggest and is urging people with similar symptoms to contact their GP immediately.
Ms Farrugia, who is training to become a mental health concillor, said she developed postpartum depression following the birth of Willow, which is likely to have triggered the allergy. Pictured: Ms Farrugia with her young daughter Willow
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