If you have allergies, you probably react to the usual culprits in your environment: pollen, pets, dust, and mold. Or maybe you have food allergies, which are increasingly prevalent. The most typical food triggers include milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, nuts, wheat, and soybeans. Other common allergies include insect bites, metals (especially nickel), and latex. But then there are some truly unusual allergies that make you say, “Wow!”
Here is a look at some of the world’s weirdest allergies:
Exercise. Though we might all like to think we’re allergic to running or the gym, some people legitimately are. This extremely rare condition can cause people to break out in hives, develop gastrointestinal problems, and even devolve into full-blown, life-threatening anaphylaxis in reaction to physical activity.
Sun. Not to be confused with a sunburn, a sun allergy can cause a rash to develop on your skin—even after brief sun exposure. The rash from this condition—known as polymorphous light eruption—usually develops about 30 minutes after sun exposure and may appear as dense clusters of red bumps or raised, red patches. It may be itchy or painful.
Money. If you develop an itchy rash after handling coins, you may be allergic to the nickel that is found in silver-colored coins.
Sperm. It is believed that a small percentage of women are allergic to proteins found in sperm and may experience swelling, itching, and pain during or after sexual intercourse.
Water. Aquagenic urticaria is a fancy term for hives induced by one of life’s most essential ingredients—water. The skin rash can develop in reaction to all kinds of water—bath water, pool water, rain, etc. Some people even react to the water emitted by their own body in the form of tears or sweat.
Vibratory urticaria. Though it seems strange, for some people, motion can actually trigger an immune response—specifically a vibrating motion. If people with this condition drive on a bumpy road, jog, push a lawnmower, or operate shaky equipment such as a jackhammer, they may find their skin rising into itchy, red welts.
Red meat. Red meat is not typically allergenic so imagine the surprise of physicians and scientists when a spate of people from the southeast part of the country began reporting red meat allergies. What scientists discovered was that all of these people had one thing in common: they had all been bitten by the Lone Star tick. The tick inserts a sugar molecule (known as alpha-gal) into humans when it bites them. The sugar later triggers an allergic reaction when people eat red meat. This condition is sometimes referred to as alpha-gal syndrome, and it’s a real bummer when you’re in the mood for a thick, juicy steak.
Some allergies are treatable, some aren’t, but you can do your best to avoid triggers, and a physician can help you address the source and symptoms of your allergy problems. Environmental and food allergies can now be treated with both allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops). Ask your doctor for more details.