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How Long Would Somebody Live If They Suddenly Became Allergic To H2O?


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I mean a real legitimate allergy (not H2O dissolving allergens into the skin causing a reaction, or sensitivity to ions), the hypothetical mast cells somehow reacting to H2O molecules and releasing histamine. Me and my friend are having an argument about this (he tends to believe anything he reads in the DailyMail.)

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To answer a question about allergies, you’ve first got to understand the allergic response, and more generally, the immune response.

 

An immune response occurs when special immune system cells recognize a particular molecule, usually a large protein, as something that should be removed from the body. Other cells then “attack” the thing bearing the molecule, usually a cell or viron, causing it be ultimately get removed from the body. An allergic response is just a noticeable “false alarm” immune response.

 

If the immune system somehow target H2O (water) molecules, it would be a physiological catastrophe, since every cell in the body, including immune cells, are full of water. The immune system would attack itself and every cell in the body. I imagine one of two things would happen: so much inflammation the body quickly died, or the immune system self-destructed, leaving the body alive, but incapable of defending itself.

 

Fortunately, I doubt its biochemically possible for the immune system to target H2O. The molecules that let the immune system target pathogens are large, complicated proteins specialized to identify other proteins, not simple molecules like H2O. I’m not certain they could, under any circumstances.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I read about a very rare (less than 50 documented cases since it was recognized as a distinct condition in 1963) condition known as aquagenic urticarial (hives). Though it’s not, in a technical, medical sense, an allergy – as I noted in my previous post, it’s likely not possible for the immune system to target water – it’s a condition where brief exposure to ordinary water causes a severe skin reaction. The best description I’ve read is about a UK woman named Michaela Dutton, who appears in several non-medical stories, such as this 2009 Daily Mail article.

 

It’s not an ordinary allergy – that is, the immune system targeting water. Its cause is a medical mystery – the linked to NIH webpages suggest 2 possibilities:

  • A substance dissolved in water enters the skin and triggers an immune response. In this theory, the hives are not caused by water, specifically, but rather an allergen in the water.
  • An interaction between water and a substance found in or on the skin generates a toxic material, which leads to the development of hives.
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  • 5 months later...

Life on Earth cannot survive without H20.  It is the core of our being (and chemical composition).  If you somehow developed an "allergy" to water, as unlikely as that may be, you would be dead in a matter of minutes as water is everywhere on this planet.  If you want to avoid water, go to another planet (or moon).

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  • 5 months later...

Allergic to a substance that makes up about 70 percent of the earth and almost as much of our bodies. But for some, a rare allergy to water is harsh reality.sensitivity is such that person can only bathe for about 10 seconds each week and cannot drink water, juice, tea or coffee, opting for diet cola. 

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Allergic to a substance that makes up about 70 percent of the earth and almost as much of our bodies. But for some, a rare allergy to water is harsh reality.sensitivity is such that person can only bathe for about 10 seconds each week and cannot drink water, juice, tea or coffee, opting for diet cola. 

You will need to provide some evidence for this remarkable claim.  Can you refer me to a reliable source for it?

 

Bearing in mind that diet cola is well over 90% water, it seems on the face of it highly implausible that anyone can drink that but cannot drink water. 

 

By the way, you wouldn't know anything about exploding thymus glands, would you? Just asking..... 

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I was thinking combustion meant basically burning to a crisp but it just means burning now that I think about it. :blush:

Yes. But this poster (LisaL), who also posted elsewhere as "Frank Baker", has posted some even funnier stuff before, my favourite being this one: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/cold-weather-is-more-deadly-than-many-may-think.142128/#post-3209069

 

The case of the exploding thymus gland! 

Edited by exchemist
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I mean a real legitimate allergy (not H2O dissolving allergens into the skin causing a reaction, or sensitivity to ions), the hypothetical mast cells somehow reacting to H2O molecules and releasing histamine. Me and my friend are having an argument about this (he tends to believe anything he reads in the DailyMail.)

Would die instantly .

 

Remember every cell , the trillions , would repel water .

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes. But this poster (LisaL), who also posted elsewhere as "Frank Baker", has posted some even funnier stuff before, my favourite being this one: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/cold-weather-is-more-deadly-than-many-may-think.142128/#post-3209069

 

The case of the exploding thymus gland! 

I almost begin to miss GaiaGirl. But perhaps he has been successfully treated.

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