A woman from the UK with a water allergy has broken down what she has to endure for a simple shower.
Niah Selway, 23, suffers from a rare skin condition known as Aquagenic Pruritus, essentially causing an allergic reaction when her skin comes into contact with water.
For millions around the world, the availability and use of water to wash ourselves is something we take for granted. For Niah, there’s a long, quickly painful process to taking a shower.
Posted to her TikTok account (@niahselway), she explained how she prepares for a shower. ‘With an allergy to water, having a wash is really difficult. I’m starting out by taking my blood pressure and temperature, and then selecting my sensitive skin-friendly products,’ she says.
‘I’m taking this dry brush and rubbing it over my skin to exfoliate and get rid of some of the dead skin that builds up on my skin. Then I’m jumping in the shower – it usually takes around 5-10 minutes before the pain starts, but once it does, it can last anywhere up to three hours after the initial contact with water. When I jump out the shower, I’m in a lot of pain,’ Niah continues.
In a second video, she documents and goes through the aftermath of a shower. ‘After I’ve dried off and moisturised my skin, I’m in a lot of pain. I literally just writhe around in my bed until the pain stops and I start to feel exhausted,’ she says.
She takes painkillers and anti-sickness medicine if she has a particularly rough reaction, and makes sure to eat something in order to keep her energy up (even though it tastes like ‘cardboard’). While her blood pressure didn’t change massively in the clip, her temperature surged to 41°C, which is considered to be a fever.
Niah has amassed millions of views via informative TikToks about her condition, responding to questions and people’s bizarre suggestions, like bathing in milk.
She recently launched a GoFundMe to raise money for the costs of private medical treatment at the University of Munster in Germany, which has already seen nearly £16,000 in donations – however, Niah is still far from her goal of £250,000.
‘So far, my treatment has been entirely provided by the NHS, which I am so eternally grateful for. I am, however, reaching the point where they have exhausted their treatment options for my situation and quite honestly, it doesn’t feel like they have much belief that they can help me,’ she wrote on her fundraising page.
If you would like to donate to Niah’s GoFundMe, please click here.
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