I’m pretty average when it comes to allergies: pollen, cat dander, boring stuff like that. In this case, though, I’m glad I’m average - it must be incredibly difficult coping with some of these 10 bizarre allergies.

1. Water. Yes, a few unlucky people suffer every time they get in the shower in the morning or wash their hands after using the bathroom. It’s called aquagenous urticaria and one theory is that it’s caused by sensitivity to even the slightest amount of chemical additions to water. But people with an extreme allergy to water are even allergic to their own bodily fluids that contain H20 – blood, sweat and tears all cause them to break out in hives or a red rash in the affected area.
2. Sunlight. If this vampire craze doesn’t end soon, every tween out there will probably start claiming a sunlight allergy. It’s real, though – those who suffer from solar urticaria get red and itchy in the sun long before such symptoms could be considered mere sunburn. Antihistamines do seem to help, sending this one toward the realm of real allergy and not just skin sensitivity. Some people have just the opposite problem of cold urticara – allergic reaction to not-so-balmy weather.

3. Sex.

Human seminal plasma hypersensitivity is a real condition, although I bet the first time a girl afflicted with this problem told a guy that, he that didn’t buy it. If he stuck around, though, he was likely rewarded: this allergy can be overcome by repeated exposure to the seminal fluid.

4. Cell Phones. Well, technically, it’s the nickel used in cell phones, not the cell phones themselves. But it’s being called mobile phone dermatitis because that seems to be the object that’s causing the reaction in most people these days. It’s the same allergy that causes some people to buy nickel-free earrings and jewelry. Sadly, there’s really no way around this allergy except to avoid the metal itself, so people who find themselves allergic to nickel are advised to invest in a hands-free devise of some sort.

5. Computers. I could probably live without the cell phone, but an allergy to computers would be pretty bad news. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity is really an allergy to triphenyl phosphate, which is commonly used in plastics as a flame retardant, especially in computer monitors. And take note – the symptoms aren’t necessarily super obvious. Reactions include nasal congestion and headaches.

6. Exercise. What the person experiencing exercise-induced anaphylaxis is actually allergic to is a food or medication of some sort, but that allergy seems to stay latent until exercise enters the picture. Something about vigorous activity sets the allergy off and causes reactions like hives, swelling, itching and wheezing.

7. Beer. Beer!!! Isn’t that terrible? Technically it’s the beer ingredients people sometimes find themselves allergic to – hops, rye, corn, wheat. The addition of yeast can exacerbate the problem, making beer exceptionally bad for people who have even minor food allergies.

8. Wood. You could be allergic to wood even if you can climb trees without breaking out in hives – shavings and dust tend to be more reactive than any other form. Last year, a British man quit his lucrative banking job to pursue his woodworking passion… and then discovered rather quickly that he had a pretty severe wood allergy. There’s a happy ending to the story, though – just because you’re allergic to one type doesn’t mean you’re allergic to all types. He found something he could work with and is now fulfilling his dream.

9. Pressure. Dermatographism means that sometimes even the slightest pressure to or touch of the skin can cause it to become red and inflamed in the exact area that was touched. It can be treated with antihistamines in most cases, but one artist sees the allergy as an asset to her work.

10. Meat. There’s a carbohydrate in meat called alpha-gal that may be causing some cases of anaphylaxis that no one could previously explain. It’s a relatively new discovery, so those with suspected meat allergies are still being grilled for the details of their condition. Ba-dum-bum. But seriously, they’re still doing research on it.

Do you have an unusual allergy? How do you deal with it?

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