A woman who has a severe water allergy has spoken out about her painful and debilitating condition.
Niah Selway, 23, from Hastings, is so allergic to water that her own sweat, tears and urine cause her to break out in a rash.
Niah experiences extremely painful reactions, and has had to leave her job as a result of the allergy - which is also known as Aquagenic Pruritus.
The 23-year-old says the condition has deterred her from living a normal life, as she is now mostly housebound as well as being unable to work.
"My allergy affects absolutely everything in my life. I can't live my life like everyone else as I am now reacting to my own sweat, urine and tears," she said.
"Rain is also a huge problem for me, especially living in the UK where it rains so much.
"People assume that I can't wait for winter to be over so there is less rain, but summer is just as bad for me as when I get hot and sweat it also causes me to have a severe reaction.
"So I am also a state in the summer. I have a fan that I take all around the house with me to try and reduce the chances of me breaking a sweat.
"I couldn't live without it. There is no good time of year, it is just unbearable all year round."
Niah has been unable to go abroad on holiday since she started suffering a reaction to her own sweat. She explains she cannot relax and enjoy a break in the sun, and is constantly nervous about someone diving into a nearby pool or accidentally getting a splash of water on her.
The 23-year-old has been in a relationship with her boyfriend Mark for five years, and although it does affect their relationship, Mark is mega supportive.
"I feel lucky that I have grown through this with my boyfriend, I wouldn't know how to start a new relationship and try to explain it all," she said.
"He is really supportive, for example, he always looks out for me when we are having sex to make sure that I am not getting too hot.
"Although it does take a toll as I don't want to go out on dates or holidays so I don't come in to contact with anything that could cause me to react.
"It is the same with my friends. I am conscious that I can't put in the same amount of effort as they do. They always come to visit me so I don't have to leave the house, which I am grateful for.
"I guess I have tried to isolate myself from everything, as it is just easier and less scary for me."
Niah's reaction to water initially starts off as a tingling sensation, which within five minutes then progresses to an itch which then turns in to a burning pain.
Niah describes the feeling as like her skin is burning from the inside out, and as though her blood is hot.
"It becomes the most unbearable and uncomfortable pain. It is an itch that you cannot satisfy," she said.
"My reactions last anywhere between half an hour to four hours. The length of the reaction doesn't matter on the amount of time I was in contact with water.
"I could have a tiny splash and the reaction could last four hours. There isn't really much I can do for the pain during my allergic reactions, I just have to ride it out.
"The pain is so bad it makes me lose my coordination, I just have to lay down and wait it out. I try so hard not to itch because I don't want to break my skin and cause myself more pain.
"I just try and pat myself to make me feel like I am doing something to try and satisfy the itch."
When it comes to having a bath or shower, Niah struggles, but aims for once a week unless her skin is particularly irritated.
She has recently discovered a no-rinse solution, which she claims is used by NASA astronauts in space. It helps her keep clean without having to come in to contact with water.
Sadly, Niah's doctors believe the allergy is incurable, and have explored numerous treatment options but nothing has helped.
But in a bid to research her own treatments, she has recently discovered a clinic in Germany that specialises in pruritus.
"I am so desperate to try anything that could help me. I have been accepted as an international patient I am determined to get there to see what they have to say and if they have any other treatments that I could try," she said.
"It would be amazing to have a fresh pair of eyes. It is going to be expensive, the initial appointment will cost me £800, which doesn't include travel or accommodation and I will probably need multiple treatments.
"I have started a crowdfunding page to try to raise as much money as possible to help me do this.
"And hopefully get some sort of normality back in my life, so that I can do simple things like taking a bath or not care about getting caught in the rain."
You can donate to help Niah here.
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