Research tells us that the number of Americans with food allergies, already guessed to be up to 15 million people, will only continue to grow.
But plenty of people still doubt that this medical condition is as severe as patients say, and even question if some children actually have allergies as their parents claim.
For one little girl from Minnesota, there’s no doubt about her allergies. That’s because Ivy Angerman isn’t allergic to nuts, eggs, or gluten, but water itself.
Ivy’s parents remember that in the first year of her life she was a happy and healthy little girl, who took baths and played in water like any other child. But at around 14 months old, she started to suffer painful reactions to water.
In 2017, Ivy was diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria, simply described as an allergy to water. Baths, pools, and even her own sweat and tears can cause rashes, blisters, and hives to break out on her skin.
While Ivy, now two years old, can drink water safely, any exposure to water on her skin can cause her to break out in a rash.
Most patients develop the condition as young adults, so Ivy - one of just five children under the age of five to be diagnosed with it - is in a league of her own.
"Now she’s so afraid of the water," her father Dan told People, "she starts screaming bloody murder the second she gets in the tub."
Because the condition is so incredibly rare (only around 100 cases have been recorded) even Ivy’s doctors don’t have all the answers her parents need to cope with the unusual allergy. They Angermans have found that even warm days can be a danger for Ivy, because her sweat would cause a severe reaction.
The Angermans even say Ivy has learned to be afraid of the bathroom or puddles, because she knows they will hurt her. They will only bathe Ivy twice a week, unless she’s very dirty, out of fear of harming her.
The constant risk forced the Angermans to move out of their house, relocating with Dan’s grandmother in her air conditioned home, which is more comfortable for Ivy.
They hope to move out to a new home with a water purification system that could ease Ivy’s symptoms soon. To cover the costs, they’ve started a fundraiser on GoFundMe.
While they’re coping with her condition for now, the Angermans worry that Ivy’s allergy could get even worse. If the inside of her body reacted as severely as her skin, then she could suffer even more.
Regardless of what happens, Ivy’s mother Brittany told People that her daughter "will be okay."
"We won’t have it any other way."