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Feeling itchy? Four unusual allergies

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 6:28 PM -

Earlier this month, 20 year-old Caitlin McComish made headlines when she was diagnosed with cholinergic urticarial, an allergic reaction triggered by her own sweat.

Doctors say that McComish suffers from a severe form of a common allergy, which was discovered after she went into anaphylactic shock seventeen times, always around the time of a soccer practice.

Technically, McComish isn't allergic to her own sweat. Rather, her skin has a hives disorder that is aggravated by exposure to heat and sweat.

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Experts say cold weather can affect people the same way.

McComish says she's learning to live with her condition and has seen a dramatic improvement in her health after being prescribed Xolair, an injectible drug typically reserved for asthma patients.

McComish's case represents just one of hundreds -- if not thousands -- of the unusual allergies that a human can possess.

Here are three more.


While it's not possible to be allergic to your cell phone, some people are allergic to the metals inside the phone -- particularly, cobalt, nickle and chromium.

Nickel allergies are among the most common, affecting roughly 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men, according to the Mother Nature Network.

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But that's not all: Some studies suggest that cell phone towers are linked with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a term coined to describe aversions to electromagnetic fields.

Symptoms of EHS include headaches, stress and fatigue.


Aquagenic utricaria or the 'water allergy' causes a painful skin reaction when a sufferer comes into contact with water.

In many cases, the reaction can cause swelling of the throat, and may be more severe depending on the temperature of the water.

Given that the human body is made up of water it seems impossible that we could be adverse to it -- but health experts say the condition affects roughly 1 person out of every 23 million.


Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Dermatographia affects up to five percent of the general population and is defined as a sensitivity to pressure and touch.

In severe cases, even the slightest amount of pressure can create a raised, itchy rash, as seen in the photo above.

Health experts haven't determined a cause for the condition.

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