Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

by binding to the receptors on immune system cells?

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Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#1  Postby WiggleHead » Jul 09, 2018 2:55 am

In recent years I've come across several cases in the press of people being 'allergic to water', and while these articles often cite Aquagenic Urticaria, the papers on the condition mention that it isn't an allergy and is a skin condition however in the cases mentioned below the reaction seems very severe and even causes allergy symptoms upon ingestion which is making me ask the title question -

I remember seeing on the news about this woman in the UK who can't even drink water and can only drink Diet Coke. There's many other cases like this if you're willing to look them up. Often their throat will blister and swell shut if they drink water.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... tears.html

In the case of Rachel Warwick, this woman's throat gets 'scorched' if she drinks water.

She drinks milk, which she states doesn't cause a reaction as bad. She also reacts the same if water touches her skin, or if she ingests water. It isn't limited to just the skin.

This is also the same case for another 'water allergy' sufferer named Heidi Falconer who says she cannot drink water or even touch water without needing an epi-pen, so she drinks milk and orange juice, which ''do her no harm'' according to the article I read.

Which is why I'm asking, is H2O an allergen like peanut proteins or pollen proteins? That is, a (true) allergy where the immune cells receptors see H2O molecule as foreign and attack it every time they see it?
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#2  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 09, 2018 3:32 am

Here's a link to a click-bait article on weird allergies; the link you posted isn't functional:

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Allergies ... 149&page=1
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#3  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 09, 2018 4:51 am

Given the ubiquity of water here on Earth, there's not much scope for organisms to avoid it. It would also be pretty remarkable for any immune protein in any organism to develop a binding site for water, because there's not much scope for organisms that develop such a binding site. Plus, the usual outcome of such a weird event would be a fairly short but nasty death.

Plus, there's only two ways for a reaction to take place in such a scenario. One would be ionisation, in which case you'd need something else to bind to the H+ and OH- ions produced, and the end result would be an acid-base pair that would immediately react and reconstitute the original water molecule. The other would involve producing hydrogen and oxygen gas. Which would involve its own potentially lethal brand of hilarity.

Finally, anyone who treats the output of the Daily Mail seriously, isn't someone I'd treat seriously, given the reputation that pathetic excuse for a newspaper has.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#4  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 09, 2018 5:16 am

Calilasseia wrote:Given the ubiquity of water here on Earth, there's not much scope for organisms to avoid it. It would also be pretty remarkable for any immune protein in any organism to develop a binding site for water, because there's not much scope for organisms that develop such a binding site. Plus, the usual outcome of such a weird event would be a fairly short but nasty death.

Plus, there's only two ways for a reaction to take place in such a scenario. One would be ionisation, in which case you'd need something else to bind to the H+ and OH- ions produced, and the end result would be an acid-base pair that would immediately react and reconstitute the original water molecule. The other would involve producing hydrogen and oxygen gas. Which would involve its own potentially lethal brand of hilarity.

Finally, anyone who treats the output of the Daily Mail seriously, isn't someone I'd treat seriously, given the reputation that pathetic excuse for a newspaper has.


Could the purported allergic reaction to water molecules alone be tested with lab-grade DIW? Do the sort of folks who obsess about allergies to water (including touchy-feely physicians) even remember their experiences with DIW in the chemistry lab?
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#5  Postby juju7 » Jul 09, 2018 6:20 am

Most teenagers are allergic to water.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#6  Postby BlackBart » Jul 09, 2018 7:11 am

WiggleHead wrote:
This is also the same case for another 'water allergy' sufferer named Heidi Falconer who says she cannot drink water or even touch water without needing an epi-pen, so she drinks milk and orange juice, which ''do her no harm'' according to the article I read.


Which is like saying I'm allergic to peanuts so I eat Satay sauce instead.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#7  Postby WiggleHead » Jul 09, 2018 7:14 am

Calilasseia wrote:Given the ubiquity of water here on Earth, there's not much scope for organisms to avoid it. It would also be pretty remarkable for any immune protein in any organism to develop a binding site for water, because there's not much scope for organisms that develop such a binding site. Plus, the usual outcome of such a weird event would be a fairly short but nasty death.

Plus, there's only two ways for a reaction to take place in such a scenario. One would be ionisation, in which case you'd need something else to bind to the H+ and OH- ions produced, and the end result would be an acid-base pair that would immediately react and reconstitute the original water molecule. The other would involve producing hydrogen and oxygen gas. Which would involve its own potentially lethal brand of hilarity.

Finally, anyone who treats the output of the Daily Mail seriously, isn't someone I'd treat seriously, given the reputation that pathetic excuse for a newspaper has.


I don't read the daily mail personally, it just came up when I googled water allergy. What makes it have a bad reputation?
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#8  Postby WiggleHead » Jul 09, 2018 7:15 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:Given the ubiquity of water here on Earth, there's not much scope for organisms to avoid it. It would also be pretty remarkable for any immune protein in any organism to develop a binding site for water, because there's not much scope for organisms that develop such a binding site. Plus, the usual outcome of such a weird event would be a fairly short but nasty death.

Plus, there's only two ways for a reaction to take place in such a scenario. One would be ionisation, in which case you'd need something else to bind to the H+ and OH- ions produced, and the end result would be an acid-base pair that would immediately react and reconstitute the original water molecule. The other would involve producing hydrogen and oxygen gas. Which would involve its own potentially lethal brand of hilarity.

Finally, anyone who treats the output of the Daily Mail seriously, isn't someone I'd treat seriously, given the reputation that pathetic excuse for a newspaper has.


Could the purported allergic reaction to water molecules alone be tested with lab-grade DIW? Do the sort of folks who obsess about allergies to water (including touchy-feely physicians) even remember their experiences with DIW in the chemistry lab?


What is DIW?
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#9  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 09, 2018 7:27 am

WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:Could the purported allergic reaction to water molecules alone be tested with lab-grade DIW? Do the sort of folks who obsess about allergies to water (including touchy-feely physicians) even remember their experiences with DIW in the chemistry lab?


What is DIW?


You can look this up. Trust me, Wigglehead, I wouldn't shoot anything at you that you can't handle. If you say you can't handle looking up an acronym on the internet, you're lying. You're on the internet, after all. If you say it's too much work to look it up, you're saying that you're lazy.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#10  Postby WiggleHead » Jul 09, 2018 7:37 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:Could the purported allergic reaction to water molecules alone be tested with lab-grade DIW? Do the sort of folks who obsess about allergies to water (including touchy-feely physicians) even remember their experiences with DIW in the chemistry lab?


What is DIW?


You can look this up. Trust me, Wigglehead, I wouldn't shoot anything at you that you can't handle. If you say you can't handle looking up an acronym on the internet, you're lying. You're on the internet, after all. If you say it's too much work to look it up, you're saying that you're lazy.



For deionized water I don't think they said they've tried drinking distilled/deionized water but I'll check.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#11  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 09, 2018 7:44 am

WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:Could the purported allergic reaction to water molecules alone be tested with lab-grade DIW? Do the sort of folks who obsess about allergies to water (including touchy-feely physicians) even remember their experiences with DIW in the chemistry lab?


What is DIW?


You can look this up. Trust me, Wigglehead, I wouldn't shoot anything at you that you can't handle. If you say you can't handle looking up an acronym on the internet, you're lying. You're on the internet, after all. If you say it's too much work to look it up, you're saying that you're lazy.



For deionized water I don't think they said they've tried drinking distilled/deionized water but I'll check.


For anyone who needs to drink something besides tap water or Coca Cola, DIW is not recommended, because it's missing electrolytes that are important in normal metabolism. There isn't any easy way out of a purported water allergy besides drinking milk or orange juice. Even so, drinking DIW might be better than getting dehydrated.
Last edited by Cito di Pense on Jul 09, 2018 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#12  Postby WiggleHead » Jul 09, 2018 7:45 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
WiggleHead wrote:

What is DIW?


You can look this up. Trust me, Wigglehead, I wouldn't shoot anything at you that you can't handle. If you say you can't handle looking up an acronym on the internet, you're lying. You're on the internet, after all. If you say it's too much work to look it up, you're saying that you're lazy.



For deionized water I don't think they said they've tried drinking distilled/deionized water but I'll check.


For anyone who needs to drink something besides tap water or Coca Cola, DIW is not recommended, because it's missing electrolytes that are important in normal metabolism. There isn't any easy way out of a purported water allergy besides drinking milk or orange juice.


Milk and OJ seem OK for the most part, in some cases though it seems like milk and OJ still cause some reaction when ingested but it isn't as bad.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#13  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 09, 2018 7:47 am

WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
WiggleHead wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:

You can look this up. Trust me, Wigglehead, I wouldn't shoot anything at you that you can't handle. If you say you can't handle looking up an acronym on the internet, you're lying. You're on the internet, after all. If you say it's too much work to look it up, you're saying that you're lazy.



For deionized water I don't think they said they've tried drinking distilled/deionized water but I'll check.


For anyone who needs to drink something besides tap water or Coca Cola, DIW is not recommended, because it's missing electrolytes that are important in normal metabolism. There isn't any easy way out of a purported water allergy besides drinking milk or orange juice.


Milk and OJ seem OK for the most part, in some cases though it seems like milk and OJ still cause some reaction when ingested but it isn't as bad.


So what. That seems to head toward minutiae. What point are you trying to make? Maybe some people should just die off, betting that a purported allergy to water might be heritable.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#14  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 09, 2018 12:36 pm

WiggleHead wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:Given the ubiquity of water here on Earth, there's not much scope for organisms to avoid it. It would also be pretty remarkable for any immune protein in any organism to develop a binding site for water, because there's not much scope for organisms that develop such a binding site. Plus, the usual outcome of such a weird event would be a fairly short but nasty death.

Plus, there's only two ways for a reaction to take place in such a scenario. One would be ionisation, in which case you'd need something else to bind to the H+ and OH- ions produced, and the end result would be an acid-base pair that would immediately react and reconstitute the original water molecule. The other would involve producing hydrogen and oxygen gas. Which would involve its own potentially lethal brand of hilarity.

Finally, anyone who treats the output of the Daily Mail seriously, isn't someone I'd treat seriously, given the reputation that pathetic excuse for a newspaper has.


I don't read the daily mail personally, it just came up when I googled water allergy. What makes it have a bad reputation?


Among those of us with a scientific education, the Daily Mail is one of the worst tabloid offenders, with respect to the matter of bad science reporting. There are talking budgies that could do a better job.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#15  Postby WiggleHead » Jul 09, 2018 12:53 pm

Calilasseia wrote:
WiggleHead wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:Given the ubiquity of water here on Earth, there's not much scope for organisms to avoid it. It would also be pretty remarkable for any immune protein in any organism to develop a binding site for water, because there's not much scope for organisms that develop such a binding site. Plus, the usual outcome of such a weird event would be a fairly short but nasty death.

Plus, there's only two ways for a reaction to take place in such a scenario. One would be ionisation, in which case you'd need something else to bind to the H+ and OH- ions produced, and the end result would be an acid-base pair that would immediately react and reconstitute the original water molecule. The other would involve producing hydrogen and oxygen gas. Which would involve its own potentially lethal brand of hilarity.

Finally, anyone who treats the output of the Daily Mail seriously, isn't someone I'd treat seriously, given the reputation that pathetic excuse for a newspaper has.


I don't read the daily mail personally, it just came up when I googled water allergy. What makes it have a bad reputation?


Among those of us with a scientific education, the Daily Mail is one of the worst tabloid offenders, with respect to the matter of bad science reporting. There are talking budgies that could do a better job.


There's other news sites that covered these cases as well, just the Daily Mail one was one of the first to pop up. If you search Rachel Warwick's case there are several news sources that covered it and all mention she's unable to drink water as well, since it scorches her throat and leaves blisters. She also reacts the same way if she touches it.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#16  Postby felltoearth » Jul 09, 2018 1:07 pm

I'm allergic to nerd thighs.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#17  Postby laklak » Jul 09, 2018 1:58 pm

Gotta watch out for those nerd thighs. Jocks have been strangled with them, you know.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#18  Postby Mike_L » Jul 09, 2018 5:45 pm

Wikipedia has an entry on aquagenic urticaria...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquagenic_urticaria

From that article:
The exact underlying cause of aquagenic urticaria is poorly understood. As of 2016, the main scientific ideas about the cause are that the person is reacting to tiny amounts of an unknown substance dissolved in the water, or that the water interacts with or combines with an unknown substance present in or on the skin, and that the person's immune system is reacting to this compound. Despite the common name water allergy, scientists do not believe that this condition technically represents a true allergy to pure water.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#19  Postby laklak » Jul 09, 2018 6:07 pm

Pour distilled water on them and see what happens.
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Re: Can H2O molecules in themselves cause an allergic response?

#20  Postby Mike_L » Jul 09, 2018 6:18 pm

laklak wrote:Pour distilled water on them and see what happens.

That would be worse than pouring brake fluid on Condy's crystals! :ahrr: :grin:
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