Debunk This: Woman allergic to H2O molecule

just read an article where this woman says she is allergic to H20 in her bloodstream and literally everywhere inside her body and that a sip of water sent her into anaphylactic shock (she says IV saline does too because of the H20 component). She also says this immunologist diagnosed her as being allergic to the H20 molecule.

She is 32 years old, appeared on Montrel, and a series of other shows since she was little. She gets into the news a lot, including this time when it was her 21st birthday.

But is this feasible? She literally claims that immunologists have said she is allergic to the H2O molecule by itself, not to any contaminants in water. I have seen photos of her and she looks completely healthy. She says she drinks milk mixed with orange juice and she explains this is OK for her because it’s water mixed with other stuff.

I am aware of a condition called Aquagenic Urticaria, which is not an allergy and it only affects the skin, but anaphylaxis from water being present anywhere inside of the body, and having actual antibodies against the H2O molecule is another beast entirely.

Now, lots of scientists say small molecules like water cannot be allergens since they’re too small but now I’m not sure what to believe. I am a bit shabby on biology so maybe you guys can help pick this apart!

Clearly she’s not physically, chemically allergic to water if she can drink milk or orange juice. Not being a doctor by trade, I would guess that there’s something psychosomatic going on, more like an extreme phobia than an allergy. But what do I know?

I don’t think it’s the H2O molecule, AKA water. It’s not the molecule, but Hydrogen and Oxygen are parts of the chemical combination that make up H2O. IF she were allergic to water, we could rule out oxygen because she breathes it. However, hydrogen is most abundant in the earth’s atmosphere, so she’d die if she were allergic, even if is H2. IMHO, she is scamming people and not at all allergic to water.

That’s not really a good debunking since people can be allergic to proteins and proteins are in part made up of oxygen and carbon. It’s the shape of the molecule and to a lesser extent the atoms its made up of. For example an antibody binding site to bind H2O would not bind hydrogen as hydrogen is different to H2O.

Heidi Falconer?

I suspect she legit suffers from Aquagenic Urticaria, but is making up the rest to get sympathy. It’s a fairly common behavior in women with chronic medical conditions.

The body itself is around 70% water – not to mention it is the universal agent for all biological systems. So it’s not possible to survive if all tissues in the body are “allergic” to water.

But, you saw a picture of her, and she’s been on TV. Oh my god, this poor woman. How can I send her money?

Apparently in severe cases of Aquagenic Urticaria drinking water causes symptoms as well.

 

There is a woman named Michella Dutton who has this, and she says she cannot drink water but her body tolerates Diet Cola.

 

Thoughts? I will provide news links if it doesn’t already come up when you search her name.

Allergic reactions occur when the presence of an unfamiliar substance triggers an immune response from your body. Since you’ve been living with water in your body ever since you were born, you couldn’t possible be truly “allergic” to it. However if a person had pathological concerns about contamination in her drinking water, she might exhibit hives or other symptoms which can MIMIC an allergic reaction.

But the immune system makes mistakes, no?

Also, it seems like WIkipedia thinks Aquagenic Urticaria is real. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquagenic_urticaria

I’m skeptical of this disease.

For an allergic reaction to take place, molecules of the allergen have to bind with the antibodies your body has created to detect them. H2O is way, way, WAY too small to bind to antibodies. Antibodies are large molecules that bind with other large molecules. Saying water is binding to antibodies is like saying you can use the hair off a baby’s head to open a large padlock.

And even if H2O could bind to antibodies, since antibodies travel in our blood, and blood is largely H2O, why would getting water on the skin be necessary to cause a reaction? The body should be reacting 100% of the time in every part of it. An actual water allergy would probably result in death or at least extremely severe symptoms.

Maybe there’s something I don’t know that allows this to happen, and if there is, I hope someone lets me know!

Me too. If you look up Aquagenic Urticaria there are dozens of news articles on different cases, such as this case - https://www.thefreelibrary.com/JUST+ONE+CUP+OF+WATER+COULD+KILL+LITTLE+HEIDI%3B+Girl's+deadly+allergy…-a061152595

Hey Timothy,

I read the words on the page you show, and it is not a news article.

There is either something other than water affecting this girl, or the story is fiction. There is no way plain water can cause allergies or have an effect on her like the story claims. She simply could not live if water molecules do what the article says they do.

Why don’t you contact an actual allergy specialist (no naturopaths or holistic practitioners, please) and let us know what they say. The internet is a crappy way of researching if you don’t have a very strong bologna detection kit at your disposal.

Cheers.

Did you read the wikipedia page you linked?

 

Legitimacy of the condition[edit] The legitimacy of the condition is heavily questioned by scientists and immunologists. As of 2019, scientists agree that an IgE mediated allergy towards the water molecule is impossible. There exists no medical literature on antibody reactions to the compound, and many scientists agree the condition is psychosomatic or related to Munchausen's Syndrome.

Seems to be a recent edit.

Mriana,

I think you really meant Nitrogen being most abundant in the atmosphere, 78%, not hydrogen.

This note was just found next to a recently deceased person:

Oh dear God!!! I just learned that the atmosphere is 70% Nitrogen. I am allergic to Nitrogen!!! ackkkuhhhhhhh…

signed, Mitch Munchausen

He was a decent fellow, but Mitch would always do anything for attention.

TimB wrote: "This note was just found next to a recently deceased person: Oh dear God!!! I just learned that the atmosphere is 70% Nitrogen. I am allergic to Nitrogen!!! ackkkuhhhhhhh… signed, Mitch Munchausen"
I saw what you did there. That was hilarious! :)