Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2008 Christina, Community Member, asks

Q: Can someone be allergic to ocean water?

My son is 4, we have went to the beach many times and he was fine. But the last 2 times I took him and he got in the water then started screaming I thought something stung him, but both legs looked the same, they were really red and blotchy and swelled up a little bit, I rinsed his legs with my water bottle and he just kept on screaming. Then the next time we went it was the same thing. He loves to eat seafood and he loves the beach, but i am scared now to take him. I have never heard of anyone being allergic to the salt water. Please help me!!!!

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Answers (50)
JB, Editor
7/ 3/08 1:20pm

Hi Christina,

 

That does sound scary.

First, I hope you took your son to see his doctor after this happened. What did the doctor say?

 

Second, it's very unlikely to that your son is allergic to sea water, according to information I found from the Amercian Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

 

It could be that there was something in the water. Was he stung by a jellyfish?

 

There's also a strange reaction known as "seabather's eruption." According to studies cited by AAAAI, seabather's eruption is a rash that happens after someone is exposed to ocean water and usually covers the area of the body covered by the bathing suit (although children may have reactions all over). According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the rash may be caused by an organism that may be too tiny to see, but will eventually grow into an adult sea anemones called Edwardsiella lineata. Some sea anemones can hurt people with poisonous stings, but I'm not sure if this particular anemone does that. In any event, the researchers suspect that the tiny larval stage of this anemone may be what causes the rash.

 

According to the studies, there's very little that can be done for the rash and it usually goes away on its own in about 12 days.

 

Either way, when you're dealing with a child, don't take any chances. Talk to your doctor about what happened and how your son is doing now. Your doctor may be able to help you with tips for avoiding this again. If you still have questions about allergies, you may want to get a referal to an allergist, who can do allergy testing to help figured out if your son is allergic to fish or shellfish of any kind -- talk to your doctor about the possibilities and the best couse of action for your son.

 

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restoration, Community Member
1/28/11 9:21pm

I've had this happened. Broke out in a big red rash with big welts on my chest. Very attractive. I also get exercise induced urticaria (totally different symptoms: feels like ants crawling under my skin in hands, some redness with a couple small hives, itches.) To people who say there's no such thing as 'FILL IN THE BLANK" allergy, when they develop an allergy to something and nobody believes them - they'll change their minds quick. I'm currently trying a food allergy diet: eliminating ALL dairy, wheat, gluten (not same as wheat!), eggs, corn. (By the way: dextrose is corn and it's in table salt. Shredded cheese have gluten in it because that's how they keep it from sticking to the blades.) I was drinking a strawberry smoothie for a while and couldn't understand why I was so exhausted still: strawberries can be a high allergen ESPECAILLY when you are allergic to salysilate (aspirim: I go into anaphylactic shock.) It's a very strict diet and it takes months for the allergens to get out of your system, but if it helps my 12 year battle with chronic fatigue which is debilitating now it's worth it. Take care of yourself and don't listen to the nay-sayers. Just do what you do and feel beter!

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Tenacious, Community Member
12/ 6/11 11:11pm

This is for Restoration.  It has been almost a year since you posted this, but I have some information regarding the cause of allergies that I believe you would be interested in since you mentioned already following a very strict diet.

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Thinx2DamnMuch, Community Member
9/14/11 12:18am

This answer is silly. Doctors and allergists and more doctors is your answer? They are worthless for most problems as it's their medical community that is fostering many of the problems we see in the world. They just sell drugs and keep up coming back forever in their corporate machine!  I've been seeing them for decades and they do almost NOTHING to actually help.  But they always send a bill.

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Thinx2DamnMuch, Community Member
9/14/11 12:18am

This answer is silly. Doctors and allergists and more doctors is your answer? They are worthless for most problems as it's their medical community that is fostering many of the problems we see in the world. They just sell drugs and keep up coming back forever in their corporate machine!  I've been seeing them for decades and they do almost NOTHING to actually help.  But they always send a bill.

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Harle, Community Member
5/31/12 1:06am

2 years ago, me and my friends were swimming in the beach. While swimming, i had an itchy feeling all over my body but didn't mind it. I continue swimming and when i went out from water, i took a bath. After that, i rub an alcohol all over my body. When i got home, i took a bath again because it's so itchy. The next day, my mom bring me to the doctor and he gave me antibiotic. It didn't help so we went to other hospital and we looked for dermatologist. She gave me a cream to apply to the affected areas. Again, it didn't help so we looked for another dermatologist. She gave me an antibiotic and a cream and it healed. But, after a few months, it came back. We continue applying cream and when one heals, another will grow. Until now, it's still coming back. What should i do? I don't know what it is. But it's bothering me. Is that a seabather's eruption? It looks like an open wound but doesn't hurt, and it don't stop watering. I'm applying "quadriderm cream" for it to heal. Is it okay? Please help. Thankyou very much.

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BigBlackBoner, Community Member
7/11/12 9:53pm

I do have to say that you are RETARDED.I'm an 18 year old male and the same thing has been happening to me ever since I can remember. It's the most uncomfortable thing ever and you can't get rid of it till your away from salt water for a few days.There's not a thing I have found to help it or anything either.

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Wootykin, Community Member
10/ 4/08 8:40am

I have had the same reaction to sea water since I was 14 years old.  I get a very red, very itchy rash with little white bumps under the skin.  If I wash off the sea salt with fresh water it usually takes around 30 minutes for the burning sensation to fade and then within an hour the whole thing is over.

 

I know people say you can't be allergic to sea water, but I can't pin point anything else it could be.  I've tried going in seas all over the world - Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, Caribbean, Arabian seas, all with the same affect. I'm certain that each and every time it can't possibly be jellyfish or 'something in the sea'.  It's defintely sea salt.

 

More recently I have started reacting to foods with sea salt in, as more and more food has replaced normal salt with sea salt for the so called health benefits.  As soon as I eat something with sea salt in (by accident as it's not been labelled as sea salt!), my lips sting and start to swell.  Naturally, I stop eating it straight away and rinse my lips with water. I therefore wouldn't like to predict what would happen if I carried on eating it.  Once the sea salt has been rinsed off it is normally around 40 minutes later that the stinging stops.

 

To those people who say 'an allergy to sea salt is very unlikely'.....I look forward to your response!

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michelle2002wi, Community Member
5/ 1/09 12:52pm

I agree with you!

Just this year I discovered I too am apparently allergic to sea water! I went on a cruise last year, swam in the ocean with no reaction. But this year I broke out in what looked like hives, not particularly itchy, but my skin got very red and round bumps and circular spots appeared everywhere the water touched me. It went away in about 1 to 2 hours. It LOOKED a lot worse than it felt. It wasn't like an allergic reaction I get to some medications like amoxicillin. It appeared where I had put sunblock on AND where I had NOT put any sunblock. It did not appear around my bikini suit lines either (so it's NOT micro-organisms). It is sea water!

I love to snorkel so this is a problem. I am seeking a solution.

--Michelle

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Christina, Community Member
8/ 3/09 3:00am

OMG, I have exactly the same thing as you, Michelle. I live near San Diego, and have been to the ocean in California, Hawaii, and Florida before. This year, two weeks ago, I went to the same beach I usually go to, and got the reaction you described. This weekend, I went to a different beach near by, same thing. There were many people in the water, and I didn't see anyone else with similar reaction. So it was just me. Today I rinsed after getting out of the water and the "hive" went away in a few minutes, much faster than it did the first time. I tried to search for an answer online but could not find anything definite. I wonder if this has gone away since the last time you posted.

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michelle2002wi, Community Member
2/22/10 5:41pm

I may have found the culprit. The ocean is partly comprised of various SULFATES, such as magnesium sulfate and calcium sulfate. If you have an allery to SULFA related medications and sulfur dioxide (used to cure some dried fruits), sulfites or sulfates, you may also have ocean water sensitivity. Caribbean water has higher concentrations of these sulfates than in areas such Boston.  Prescription antihistimines may help to reduce or avoid the allergic reaction. See your doctor. I got an Rx called Cetirizine, took it along with Quercetin about a week before another snorkel trip and it worked! I had only a couple of spots appear on my hands and knees, but all else was ok. Later I discovered I cannot eat dried apricots- very bad reaction; hives, vomiting. I now carry an Epipen, just in case. The only common denominator is the SULFUR related chemicals.

--Michelle

 

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Nancy, Community Member
5/24/10 2:26pm

THANK YOU MICHELLE!

I never related my sulfa allergy with my sea salt reactions.

It totally makes sense now.

I have crohn's disease and i've have an allergy to SULFA based meds.

I have extreme allergric reaction when i go in the sea or just splash around on the beach!

My common denominator is Sulfur related in my case as well.

Thank you~Nancy

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Mike, Community Member
6/15/10 12:33am

I have posted my story and I agree with you..My mother is allergic to sufar which was given to her to treat a bad liver and she broke out in hives..She told me this after I told her about my ocean water experience and a bell went off in my head..Its weird how it took 33 years for my body to react like this I have been in the ocean many times and it never happened until now?? Thanks for the post..Mike..

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Shaina, Community Member
4/12/11 9:22pm

Hi, I'm 16 and I've had all kinds of skin allergies, plus asthma since I was about 3 or 4. 

The most common of the allergic reactions I have is this weird heat releasing rash that I get all over my body, but mostly where no absorbent fabric like cotton covers it. It happens when I sweat and when I go swimming, either in the sea or pools. It used to worst in the sea, when I was about 6 till 11 or 12. Since then it was more or less okay, but this January, all my health problems just plunged, and the reactions I get are worse than ever.

Dermatologists I've seen told me that it should be better by the time I'm 20, and it seemed to be true till now.

I've been taking Cetrizine daily since I was 4 or 5, and it worked fine until all this started getting worse. I increased my dosage to two tablets, but it doesn't seem to help.

My knowledge on all this is quite limited, however, so do you suppose that the sulphur factor is my problem, too?

I'm desperate for help because as hard as it is to not swim when I'm from a place where the people are known as 'the children of the sea' (I'm Maldivian), it's even harder not to sweat, especially considering I'm overweight, and I really need to work out or at least swim or do yoga because I also have a slipped disk, but I need to do this without spending 3 - 4 hours in bed every time I do so because of how my skin and body reacts whenever I do so.

Pardon the extremely disorganized comment, but even as I type this, I'm suffering from two different kinds of allergic reactions, mild asthma, and a quickened heart pace.

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mary, Community Member
6/ 7/11 9:00pm

wow, i am allergic to ceclor and cefcil. i began getting this rash anytime i was in the ocean, no matter where, the atlantic, pacific, carribean, gulf..anywhere. it usually comes after a long day of swimming and playing at the ocean. i get clusters of small blister like bumps on my feet, legs and arms and this last trip i even got some on my chest. they dont itch too bad but they look gross, like little clusters of small red pimples and they last for days into weeks. got them so bad after a hawaii trip that i had large blisters on my forearms...no doctor has been able to diagnose me yet so i just stopped going to see them and just wait them out. the strangest thing is that i grew up in florida and spent most of my childhood at the beach and never had this problem. thanks for the sulfur connection.

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Michele Starcher, Community Member
6/18/13 11:00pm

ABSOLUTELY right Michelle! I just got back from Puerto Rico where i broke out in an itchy rash from snorkling by the mangrove trees.  I am allergic to sulfa drugs and did connect the facts so I took antihistimine and was fine!

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Stephaniegal100, Community Member
11/ 7/09 11:09pm

I have exactly the same reaction i started about 2 years ago

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corinnec., Community Member
11/15/09 4:59am

ME TOOO!! Whenever i swim in the ocean i get a tingly, semi itchy feeling and then when i get out of the water, a rash erupts all over my body. The rash looks like heaps of small bumps everywhere with the occasional larger one. They arent perfect circles and are somewhat misshapen. I try my HARDEST not to scratch and it'll usually go away in 40mins - 1 hr (out of the water). I dont remember when this started happening to me, but its pretty recent, probably within the last year or so.

 

Today, i went to the beach and the rash was the worst its ever been, the bumps were HUGE splotches all over my body and it looked disgusting. I want to know whats causing this!! The weird thing is that when i wear a wetsuit to surf, the bumps dont appear, so it cant be the salt water alone and when im cold in fresh water or at the pools, the rash doesnt appear either so it must be the combination of temperature and sea water. I love swimming in the ocean and i dont want this to ruin it.

 

I live in Sydney, Australia, by the way

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Jeda, Community Member
1/ 6/10 8:23pm

Hi

I live in Sydney too and right next to a beach.  I have had this seawater allergy for maybe 8 years or so. 

 

I spend most of summer in the ocean.  My allergy starts a few minutes after I get out of the sea and the salt water starts to dry on my skin.  It is never painful but very very itchy.  It can happen all over me.  My plan of action is to get out of the water and go straight under the cold showers that are on the beach and then I don't have much of a problem.  Any rash that has come up goes down within the hour if I can rinse off the seawater. Whilst I am in the water and wet, I don't have the rash - only if I allow the seawater to dry on my skin.

 

I have allergic skin anyway, even if I exercise I get a rash but it goes away once I have cooled off. 

 

Very strange and a bit annoying but there are worse things to have wrong with you.Smile

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adirondacksgirl, Community Member
1/31/10 12:58am

This also happens to me.I think it has something to do with salt.I also get this same kind of rash when I sweat (around my neck and chest)???It's very frustrating.

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Jacobow, Community Member
2/15/10 8:33pm

Perfectly put for my situation!

I trust God knows what the real problem is... and I bet it will be pretty neat if we find the answer!

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cruiser, Community Member
2/ 2/11 8:51am

I too went on a cruise and after swimming on the cruise's salt water pool I developed hives on my arms and my face puffed up around the eyes and the rest of my face was very red and blotchy. It got worse when I swam in  the ocean the next day. It finally cleared up when I returned home. Happy I had cruise pictures taken the 1st day!!!

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hollykf, Community Member
4/18/11 1:30pm

Hi!

 

I'm so glad I read all of these posts! I have the reaction to sea water and sweat.

I am fine when I am in the ocean, but once I get out and the salt starts to dry on my skin, Itchy red bumps erupt all over my body. If I run, IMMEDIATELY, to a fresh water shower, and wash with soap and water, it stops it from worsening. Within an hour, the bumps are gone. I have the same reaction from my sweat. It is worse, because the rash continues and grows worse as long as my body is even slightly sweaty, or warm. I sweat around my hairline a lot, so my eyes and face swell. It makes it very difficult to exercise. I also have this reaction when I get a sunburn. It is embarrassing and miserable. I am seeking an allergy specialist in my area to help me. I also think my hormones are messed up, and could be contributing to this weird reaction. 

 

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Jacobow, Community Member
2/15/10 8:31pm

I had this too, in both a mucky pond and the ocean.
Note, however, that hydras (related to sea anenomies) live in both environments. Perhaps we're allergic to hydra stings (hydras are microscopic, so you wouldn't know they were there).

 

In Idaho, I swam in a mucky pond, and this led to a pretty bad rash over my stomach area, legs, and arms. The kids who played there often said they had it too but were eventually able to swim in there for hours without a rash. Sure enough, the 2nd time I swam there it was less severe - perhaps it takes time to build an immunity?

 

Hope this gives hope.

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mizzkandy, Community Member
3/ 6/10 8:08pm

I went on holiday to Greece nearly 4 years ago, while I was there I 4 months pregnant that when I first noticed the rash. I thought it may have just been because I was pregnant. 2 years later I went to the Dominican republic, after about 15min of coming from a swim in the sea I noticed the rash started to develop all over my body, but unlike most of the comments I have read, my rash did not go away in fact it got worse at night time.

 

It affected my legs the most, it was like little spots (rash) all over, my legs were swelling and they were hot. The rash itched but also stung. It was so horrible.When I got back I took the pictures of the rash to my doctor and he said it was an allergy.

 

Last year I went to Egypt before I left my doctor gave me some strong allergies tablets, which I started to take before I left. But this time I didn't go for a swim in the sea. Instead I just put my feet in the water (not going past my ankle) and that same night the same rash started at the top of my thigh and made its way down. What was strange was that the rash always stops at my bikini line.

 

I don't know what this rash is but it spoils all my holidays most of the time I have to lie down and wait for it to go away. If u want to see the rash have a look at my profile. I any 1 finds a cure please inform us.

 

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Capturethis8, Community Member
7/11/11 3:31am

I've been reading all of these but yours is the first one i saw that it was stinging and painful. I used to swim in the ocean on the east coast every year my family and i went to the beach when i was younger. I never had any problems with the water or beach. Then all of a sudden when I was in my younger teenage years I started getting these reactions on the tops of my feet my ankles and half way up my legs. At that time and since, I havent really been doing anything more than walking along the beach where the water will flow over my feet, although I still sometime get reactions (its not fair to go to the beach and not allowed to walk near the water) When I was done hanging out on the beach, my family and I would take showers then walk along the boardwalk the rest of the night. Sometime into the evening/night of our walking I'd start getting a rash and it would become so excrusiating and painful. It'd sting and burn. Would feel like someone was stabbing my lower legs, ankles and feet, poking me with needles all over those areas, while setting my feet on fire with a lighter (no exaggeration). Soaking the affected area in cold water with ice was the only way i could get any relief. After a few seconds out of that water i would start feeling that again. It also radiates heat when touched. Taking benadryl or doubling on my allergy medicines didnt do enough and aloe vera or lotion gave only a tiniest bit to no relief. When trying to fall asleep, anythingggg that brushed on or touched that area made it even worse. I'd break into crying from so much pain that I went to the ER 3 times while on vacations and other times I just had to bear it. Walking or heat makes it worse. It takes a few days to fully go away and have the symptoms gone. I went to the west coast to beaches in CA and had no reactions to the water. They didn't know what was wrong with me.

I've seen doctors and a dermatologist but no one knows whats wrong so i been trying to put together changes over the years from when i was younger to now and changes at the beach. Only thing I can come up with is Seaweed. Ever since that stuff has been washing up in huge clumps in the water and washed up drying out on shore is about the time that I started getting this. I try to stay clear of that now if I go to the beach, but it really kills the fun outta the beach and makes it no fun. Like you said its like little tiny spots. All i was given or told is its contact dermatitis, but that doesnt help me if I dont know what is causing it. And whether coming in contact with it like i do means whatever it is, if consumed i'd have an even worse reaction. Someone told me few months ago that seaweed has these tiny little needle like things with poison in it that you cant really see, and sometimes it irritates some peoples skin. I just wish someone would figure out what is causing this cause I love the beach and it becomes stressful and too painful when i get this to enjoy my vacation.

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deepaknopany, Community Member
7/12/10 10:01pm

It was way back in the nineties that I was swimming in the sea off the Andaman and Nicobar islands. My body erupted in a rash and was red all over. Since then I have been allergic to sea water wherever and whenever I i tried bathing in the sea. Recently I visited a seaside resort and even without bathing in the sea, I am getting itchy in many parts of the body. I feel this could be due to exposure to sea sand which surely must contain sea salt. The hotel beds were always having a fine layer of sea sand on them and it was unavoidable to keep that away from skin contact. wonder if there is a cure for this as the only thing that seems to work are steroids and that too temporarily

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Jenny, Community Member
6/16/11 5:46pm
I am 30 yrs old and I have been to the beach before with no problems. It's been 5 yrs but we went to the beach for vacation. As soon as I got in the water I began to ice. Now my legs are covered with welts and hives so I believe you! Reply
kattgirl, Community Member
6/20/11 10:25pm

My 13 year old son had his first reaction at Dana Point this past spring break, thought maybe a combination of salt water, sand and his boogie board, wasn't too bad and went away within an hour. Haven't been to the beach since then, until today and every time my son went in the water he came out with the worst red rash skin with huge welts from his neckline to his waistline and a few on the front of his shins. But not his face, hands, feet or bathing suit area at all. Weird!! But after he dried off, they were gone within 30 to 45 minutes. Now one time he went to the showers and rinsed off then dried and it went away a little faster. He said it really doesn't itch or burn, but feels a little irritated like.  So if it's sea salt, why wouldn't he have the reaction when I use sea salt in my cooking?? My friends all have salt water pool systems and he swims in them regularly.  Im baffled, to say the least. But at least there are others with this same weird thing happening.

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Tom, Community Member
8/31/11 3:01pm

Same thing happens to my son, 8, who breaks out in a itchy rash all over his body when swimming in the ocean.  This also happened when he was in a salt water swimming pool on a cruise and the first time was at the NJ state Aquariums touch tanks.  I wash him with fresh water and it goes away in about 30 minutes, exactly what you said.  We now give him benadryl before we go to the ocean, it stops the itches and significant reduces the number of small red blotches (hives?) that he experiences.

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Rach, Community Member
1/12/09 10:47am

I developed "face" allergies when I was around the age of 12. I went on holiday abroad to a hotel which had a salt water pool. I was alright for the first few days but then for some reason my face started stinging and started to swell as my parents didn't know what it was I just washed my face with normal water and kept out of the salt water as I was going home the next day. By the time I got off the aeroplane I couldn't see out of my eyes because my face had swollen that much. The doctor was called out and she prescribed me zertec for the swelling and some non perfumed moisturiser (aquas cream). The zertec pills made me really tired but once the swelling started to go down, the skin on my face started to shed like a snake. Once all that damage skin peeled off I was fine again.

 

I still have the same reaction with salt water no matter where I go (I have been to so many different countries and it is all the same) I hate it as I cant join my friends and family in the water sport events or go snorkelling or swim with dolphins etc. If you do find out anything more please let me know! I have also posted my question on here so hopefully someone will come up with an answer!

 

I hope your son grows out of it.

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Bridget, Community Member
7/ 8/11 9:28am
I have developed this exact reaction!! I, however am 47, and only recently developed this reaction. I have had a sulpha allergy since age 26, and recently developed a shellfish allergy, now this!! Trying to find a link. Has anything you tried help hasten the healing process? So sorry you are suffering. Reply
Jenny, Community Member
3/22/09 3:02pm

omg! i thought i was the only one with that kind of reaction to the ocean water!

i pretty much have the same reaction on my face. i found out when i was about 16 or 17. it was a red rash and it itched! after putting fresh water on my face it takes a few min. for the rash to go away and a few seconds for the itch to go away. recently (this summer that passed) i put sunblock on my face and got no reaction to the ocean water. maybe the sunblock will help your son. doesnt hurt to try. Cool

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manny, Community Member
4/ 6/09 5:39pm

Hello Everyone,

 

I get similar reaction in the salt and also fresh water. My skin gets blotchy, extremely itchy, swells up, gets bumpy and it takes about half an hour for this reaction to subside, once rinsed off. I went to see a dermatologist but she was unable to come up with any reasonable explanation. I am 32 years old female, and this problem started about 10 years ago. I don't have any food allergies.

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kelly, Community Member
5/23/09 10:42am

i too have the same problem, and i have the same reaction when i sweat. I was told that i am allergic to the salt my body produces when i sweat and the salt water. i was told to take claratin or a generic form of this. i have not tried it yet but I hope it works. Good luck. I am 43 and have been having these issues since i was in my 20's.

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manny, Community Member
5/23/09 6:31pm

 Hi,

Couple of weeks ago I realized that I am not only sensitive to ocean water but cold rain water as well.  After about 10 minutes of cold rain toutching my skin I started to itch and my skin became blotchy and red with white bumps. So I started little research and found out that some people suffer from condition called Cold Urticaria. After reading the list of possible triggers and symptoms I realized that this could be it. Now, I think that I am most likely allergic to a cold stimulus. I no longer think that I am allergic to salt water because I get the same reaction from fresh water as well. I am just blown away that the doctors I visited in the past about this issue had no clue and always came up with some explanation such as...it is probably something in the water.

 If you would like some information about this condition click on the following links. They list the symptoms, triggers, types and some more information.

I hope that this  information can be helpful. Smile

http://allergies.about.com/od/urticariahives/a/coldurticaria.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_urticaria

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rachel, Community Member
4/26/10 11:48pm

i also have this problem when in salt water, sweating and sometimes in shower. the rash apears when i start to dry. i hate it have no idea what it is. i do eat alot of salt though. im 21 been happening since about 14.

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nicole, Community Member
8/24/09 1:27pm

I'm the same way - a bumpy red rash that really itches from going in the ocean and rivers/lakes. I just started having it about 3 years ago, even though I've grown up in southern california and been in the ocean my whole life, and it never happened before that. I've traveled a little and know its not just in the Pacific Ocean. Usually, I take Benadryl or just rinse and let it run its course for about an hour. But I'd love to know what is causing it! Also, I noticed that it started happening around the time I started taking birth control - so maybe that is making my skin more sensitive. Have any other women noticed that?

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Lisa, Community Member
4/ 9/09 12:04am

Well...it is so good to know I am not crazy.  I have had the same experience of red blotchy skin and itching so bad I start to freak out.  The last time we went scuba diving it was horrible.  As soon as I got out of the water the reaction came on strong and I basically took a shower with baby shampoo and a fresh water hose on the back of the boat.  Everyone on the boat thought I was nuts!  My reaction seemed to be worse with sunscreen that is why I had to use soap on the boat.  

 

I have found that if I use NO personal products (no lotion of any kind anywhere on my body before exposure) and I rinse my skin with fresh water & mild soap immediately after leaving the ocean I can avoid any serious reaction.  My husband is a physician and he can't come up with any reason why this is happening to me.  

 

On another note, I am trying a gluten free diet since I seem to be gluten intolerant.  I am not sure if this will help but it has improved many other aspects of my health and perhaps it will help with this allergy too.  Good luck to everyone!

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Jenn_colts, Community Member
8/19/10 2:30am

The past couple of yrs i have been having the same reactions:red blotchy, itchy etc... I also am gluten intolerant. I have been using Bob's red mill mixes and they contain sea salt. A lot of products contain sea salt you may want to see if you are allergic to it and be careful with all the products now a days with sea salt in them... take care:)

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Sheryl, Community Member
4/12/09 12:34pm

We went to daytona beach and my daughter first time to ocean went in and with in mintues came out crying saying her skin was burning and all red. Took her back to hotel showered her off and 30 min later she was fine. Next day same thing happened but worse. So your son is not alone. And she now is afraid to go back to the beach.

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Brandi, Community Member
6/20/09 1:54am

I live near Daytona and that is where I first began my reaction to the water as a child. I learned quickly to stay out of the water when my family was swimming. I have had the worst reaction in the Gulf water though. My details to my reaction are a little further down. You were right to rinse her off so quick. The longer exposed the worse the reaction. I was born and raised here and no one else we know of has the same reaction/allergy.

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dree, Community Member
6/16/09 10:15am

I just came back from the doctor, hugely disapointed to see how little everyone knows about this. 

The first time I got an allergic reaction after going in the water and sunbathing was 4 years ago. Since then, I have been on many beaches without reacting to the sea or the sun. last week I went to Northern Italy and the reaction came again. It mainly starts 3-4 hours after I leave the beach and it stays generally for 2-3 days. I gets kind of blotchy, but it mainly itches, to the point where I have trouble sleeping. I stays in the back and in sensitive areas such as breasts and upper thighs. 

The doctor gave me a menthol cream, but I still don't know what I have... cortizone barely calms it and after-sun makes no difference. 

Let's hope for more studies on the subject, as it is an incredibly unfortunate type of allergy.

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Jay, Community Member
6/16/09 3:05pm

I live on Greek island and have never had problem before BUT last 4 times I've swam in the sea I have gotten out and am covered in red bumpy rash all over my body and feel a little shaky.  After about 30 mins the rash dissappears - I usually shower with fresh water.  This also happened once at home when I was working up a sweat in the garden and even once when I took a fresh water shower at home - HELP, I live by the beach and CANNOT stop swimming in the sea.  What can I do ???

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Brandi, Community Member
6/20/09 1:46am

I have had an allergy to "ocean water" since I was a child. Growing up we thought it was sun poisoning. I don't burn easy but as long as I didn't get in the water, I didn't break out. After being in the water as an adult for a long period of time snorkeling, I had a severe reaction. I break out in huge blisters around my mouth that itch like you can't imagine. This time it broke out across my entire top half of my back too. I went to the doctor for something else and he flipped out saying it was an allergic reaction to something in the water. His explanation was there are so many chemicals put in the ocean that it would be impossible to designate what is causing it. Now if it gets on my skin or face I itch immediately and my skin gets blotchy. I was in the water for about 30 mins. the other day (just standing waist deep) and broke out. Plus I began to have high anxiety for two days. I should have known though because I had an allergy to citrus fruit that reacted the same way. However I have over come that with medication.  That was a rare allergy that has become more recognized recently. The ocean water one is now starting to surface more too. Hopefully we will get more answers soon!

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Calack, Community Member
7/14/09 2:27pm

Hi, my dad hs been breaking out in these hives from the ocean water a fresh cold pool water and sometimes even climate changes it itches and is red and sometimes he feels like passing out. I was wondering if there is anything he could take for this before he goes swimming or sometimes even outdoors.

Thanks

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Julie, Community Member
7/20/09 4:51am

Hi, my son aged 10 has suffered from this problem on and off for about 6 years. We live on a Greek island and obviously it it very distressing for him. After swimming in the sea on a regular basis since June the problem resurfaced about a week ago. Raised red botches first start to appear around the waistband of his trunks and around his armpits. If he doesn't get out of the water at that stage they start to spread. The doctor's advice was to stay out of the water - a bit steep for a 10 year old! I have found that covering him with a really thick layer of heavy suntan lotions keeps the problem at bay for a while but I check him continually in the water. He also avoids contact with all inflatable toys and with us because whenever he rubs against things the spots appear. This condition comes and goes. The last outbreak followed a very severe storm with high winds. I am looking into his diet once again since he has suffered from food allergies in the past to see if something has triggered this new outbreak. My sympathy to everyone living with this problem.

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Gilly, Community Member
1/12/10 9:33am

I get a mild itchy rash that lasts for a few days after going in the ocean; however, when the ocean is stirred up with higher waves, there is more seaweed and I get actual hives.

I am also allergic to seafood, pretty severely, and can't take kelp supplements (hives). I believe the two are related.

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silvershoes, Community Member
8/ 3/09 6:44pm

My daughter is 15 months old and I took her to the beach for the first time couple of days ago in Maine.  She was in the water for 10 minutes and after 5 minutes of getting out, she started getting hives all over her legs.  Her legs were more exposed to the water than her top part of the body.  since she has excema, we thought ocean water may help her, but we thought she had allergic reaction to ocean water due to her shell fish allergy.  we washed her with bottle water and gave her benedryl and hives went away in 10-15 minutes.  One of the post said one has allergic reaction to the sea salt.  Perhaps I should try not using the sea salt for my daughter as well.

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Britt, Community Member
8/ 4/09 11:46am

I just figured out that only my lips are allergic to the sea water. This has happened years before when i went to the gulf but i thought it was the sunblock.   I Went  back this year with no sunblock lotion at all!  I went swimming in the gulf of mexico and my lips started burning.  I didnt have sense enough to go rinse them off immediately with fresh water so now they are swollen and i have tiny blisters on my upper lip. The bright side is that they dont itch, but the swelling lasts for a week and here are the stages:  swelling and tiny blisters, blisters dry up and the skin tightens, scaley skin falls off and then its over (thank God).

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tara, Community Member
8/ 6/09 12:49pm

I am glad to know that I'm not a freak of nature!  About five years ago, out of the blue, I started breaking out in hives for no apparent reason - this lasted for over a year and finally stopped, but ever since then, I have bad reactions to sea water (doesn't matter where I go).  I break out in hives on my body, and my eyes swell up like golf balls - it really sucks, especially since I love scuba diving. 

 

Wish we could figure out what the cause is, because doctors know nothing.

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Chris, Community Member
8/ 8/09 12:52pm

I seem to notice the same with my 11 year old daughter. We have been going to the beach for years.  I thought the reaction she had was to new suntain lotion.  It is definatley someting with the salt water and sand.  I always end up giving her cortizone cream or a little benadryl. She said it itches really bad. My son is allergic to shellfish and he doesn't seem to have a problem.  I am concerned why she has been having problems.  It is nice to know we are not alone. I thought we were the only ones!!!

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jas, Community Member
8/24/09 2:04pm


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Possiblim, Community Member
9/10/09 11:06pm

Many food vendors are now utilizing "Sea Salt" instead of iodized salt because of a stronger flavor as well as generally being healthier. Unfortunately, and this may help with an answer to your question... but Sea Salt has "Marine Copolymers" attached to it, or in more common terms, "Microscopic Shellfish". This might account for the superficial allergic reactions on his legs. Is he by chance allergic to shell fish? It doesn't take much, if injesting this salt to set off a reaction.

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Kim, Community Member
10/20/09 9:36pm

I have also noticed that when I swim in the ocean, I get extremely itchy hives.  I never really thought much of it until last year. 

 

I purchased a lotion from Bath and Body Works that contained seaweed extract for toning the skin on the thighs.  After one use, my legs broke out in the worst rash that turned into horrible bruises.  I looked like someone beat me up.  I returned the product to the store for a full refund. 

 

Then a few months later I went to Rocky Point Mexico and swam in the ocean and got the rash again but no bruising. 

 

So now I am very cautious about using products that contain seaweed extract as I believe that is the cause of my allergic reactions.  I especially do not eat sushi as it is wrapped in seaweed.  Who knows what kind of reaction that could cause, but I don't want to find out.  I'm just staying away from seaweed and keeping benedryl close by. 

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Stephaniegal100, Community Member
11/ 7/09 11:06pm

When i go to the beach and get in the water my stomach becomes red and rashy and it itches could be simalar i started having these reactions about 2-4 years ago my grandmother used to do the same thing now she litterly gets sick and nauseated. usually once i stay out of the water a while it goes away.

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Pat, Community Member
12/13/09 11:02am

You also use sunscreen while you are at the beach and the sunscreen could be the culprit.  Especially those with a high protection.  My husband always develops a red itchy rash with sunscreen protection over 30.

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Lisa, Community Member
12/24/09 2:48pm

I used to think I was allerigic to being in the sun.  I discovered I could go to the beach for days and lay out with no reaction, but once I actually get into the ocean, I will inevitably start to get itchy by the end of the day or the next day for sure.  I don't get it all over my body, but specific areas - behind my knees, by my arm pits, the inside area of the elbows, and my eyes.  I take an antihistamine and I also have allergy eye drops.  I try to wash off with fresh water as much as possible as soon as I get out of the salt water.  Ice relieves the itching very effectively whenever it acts up which is usually twice or three times per day.

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Beth, Community Member
1/12/10 10:17pm

I have never before had a reaction to sea water until this holiday, when I came out in bumpy hives that were very itchy. The itching started whilst being in the water, and disappeared on leaving the water and getting my swimwear off. The first time I took a shower, the second time it wasn't possible at first but the hives still went down after about an hour of leaving the water. No pain just very itchy and uncomfortable, and looked horrible. I think it was related to the sea water (or possibly sea water with sunscreen) as it happened on entering the water, and was over most of my body, including rather a weird swelling of both thumbs, which became full of fluid. This was the last thing to dissipate. Two beaches, same reaction. I am hoping it is the combination with that particular sunscreen (which I've never used before) as I love the sea.

 

Glad I'm not alone, as everyone else was fine. Oh it is worth noting that I am not allergic to shellfish, seaweed, seasalt or anything else for that matter that I am aware of.

 

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Kelly, Community Member
1/31/10 10:31pm

My son suffers the same. He also used to have Arthritis.  I believe that it is a reaction to systemic yeast in the blood/skin.   Salt kills yeast.  I think it is a violent reation do to the salt acking the yeast.  My sons also gets this rash when he sweats.  I had him off sugar, dairy and wheat and he took natural medication to eliminate yeast.  This helped get rid of the arthritis but only helped the rash a little.  We went on vacation he was fine for a few days but went off his diet and ate sugar etc. and then it came back.  Selsun blue really works to wash him with.  BUT the most helpful was a  a tincture called cedrus libani made by gemmo which detoxes the skin.  15 drops three times a day on empty stomach.  This was given to me by my natroupath.  He's been off his diet some time now we are going to costa rica next week I'm going to try selsum blue and just this ticture which we are starting ahead of time plus limit the sugar/dairy and see if he holds..... we are hoping it lets him have some ocean time.

 

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Kelly, Community Member
1/31/10 10:31pm

My son suffers the same. He also used to have Arthritis.  I believe that it is a reaction to systemic yeast in the blood/skin.   Salt kills yeast.  I think it is a violent reation do to the salt acking the yeast.  My sons also gets this rash when he sweats.  I had him off sugar, dairy and wheat and he took natural medication to eliminate yeast.  This helped get rid of the arthritis but only helped the rash a little.  We went on vacation he was fine for a few days but went off his diet and ate sugar etc. and then it came back.  Selsun blue really works to wash him with.  BUT the most helpful was a  a tincture called cedrus libani made by gemmo which detoxes the skin.  15 drops three times a day on empty stomach.  This was given to me by my natroupath.  He's been off his diet some time now we are going to costa rica next week I'm going to try selsum blue and just this ticture which we are starting ahead of time plus limit the sugar/dairy and see if he holds..... we are hoping it lets him have some ocean time.

 

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Shelly, Community Member
11/13/12 9:56pm

Kelly I am so glad you posted this.  I have read through all of these posts up to yours so far and was going to mention the Candida (yeast) also.  Candida is an epidemic and most people develop allergies to all kinds of things they were never allergic to before.  I have had this problem for several years and I am 48 yrs. old and have been battling Candida for years.  I walked through the ocean only up to my ankles the other day after hurrican Sandy and by the the time I made it back to our car the itching and hives were so intense they were driving me crazy, I became very irritated.  You can carry candida around with you all your life.  If anyone is not familiar with Candida please check into it.  It may save your life. Many people believe now that Candida can be the cause of many diseases over time.  I have three girls and they all have it also.  Our last born has many allergies and eczema.  She is six now and we have virtually eliminated the eczema by eliminating the food culprits.  Candida can also cause allergic reactions to mold.  We had to take her out of pre-school after testing and finding several molds that were making her extremely sick.  I could go on all day as to everything I have researched and found out in the last 6 yrs.  Always willing to share... as we all can learn from each other. 

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michelle2002wi, Community Member
2/22/10 5:32pm

I may have found the culprit. The ocean is partly comprised of various SULFATES, such as magnesium sulfate and calcium sulfate. If you have an allery to SULFA related medications and sulfur dioxide (used to cure some dried fruits), sulfites or sulfates, you may also have ocean water sensitivity. Caribbean water has higher concentrations of these sulfates than in areas such Boston.  Prescription antihistimines may help to reduce or avoid the allergic reaction. See your doctor. Hope this helps!

 

 

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mizzkandy, Community Member
3/ 6/10 8:11pm

I went on holiday to Greece nearly 4 years ago, while I was there I 4 months pregnant that when I first noticed the rash. I thought it may have just been because I was pregnant. 2 years later I went to the Dominican republic, after about 15min of coming from a swim in the sea I noticed the rash started to develop all over my body, but unlike most of the comments I have read, my rash did not go away in fact it got worse at night time. It affected my legs the most it was like little spots (rash) all over, my legs were swelling and they were hot. The rash itched but also stung. It was so horrible.

When I got back I took the pictures of the rash to my doctor and he said it was an allergy.

Last year I went to Egypt before I left my doctor gave me some strong allergies tablets, which I started to take before I left. But this time I didn't go for a swim in the sea. Instead I just put my feet in the water (not going past my ankle) and that same night the same rash started at the top of my thigh and made its way down. What was strange was that the rash always stops at my bikini line.

I don't know what this rash is but it spoils all my holidays most of the time I have to lie down and wait for it to go away. If u want to see the rash have a look at my profile. I any 1 finds a cure please inform us.

 

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mermaid, Community Member
3/29/10 4:59pm

yes i have read on the web that there was just one person supposedly allergic to water now you are number 02 in the world nord is the organisation that cares in usa about orphan rare diseases type allergy to water you might find some info on you tube videos

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Jonale, Community Member
1/10/12 1:08pm

I've been allergic to water for 29 years (all water including sweat) and back in the early years the allergists I saw all told me it was phyically impossible to be allergic to water. So I lived with it - my current allergist says we know a lot more than we used to. It could be sulfites as there are more in sea water than fresh but we may never know.

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Itchy Mom, Community Member
5/14/10 10:51am

I have the same problem. Mine started 2 years ago while visiting Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I thought the algae had something to do with it. Whatever it is - it seems to be on the surface of the water. I can wade in the water and not have a rash on my ankles or lower legs. But will develop the rash on my upper legs - where the water splashes. I will also develop the rash on my arms - from reaching in the water to pick up sea shells. If water (from a wave) splashes my neck or face, I will get the rash there too! The rash starts right after getting in the water. After about 30 minutes, I can't stand it anymore and feel so terrible. I start to get relief as soon as I use the beach shower to wash off the Gulf water. I have learned to take a small amount of Benadryl prior to getting in the water and to never go to the beach without Benadryl liquid, tablets and cream!!!

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Sandie, Community Member
6/ 4/10 7:01pm

I have experienced the itching and discoloration of my skin when I go to the beach, however I never get into the water.  I am assuming that the salt in the air irritates my skin.

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Mike, Community Member
6/15/10 12:11am

Hi sandie you and I have had the most recent occurances on this blog so I will tell you what I think may be happening?? On the first week of this june we decided to take our first beach trip of the summer to monterey coast in central california..I jumped in the water like I have always in my 33 years of living but something unusual happened that never happened before?? I started getting a burning feeling so I got out after being in for only a few minutes..It then stopped when I got out and then these red blotches with white centers started appearing on the inners of my arms and thighs??  They began to itch and sting and I knew it was an allergic reaction but thought it was from food we had eaten earlier?? Anyways I ran to the car took off to the closest store which was miles away at this time it moved from the top portion of my body to the lower which hit my inner thighs and drove me crazy!!!  It was painfully itchy and I was driving like a crazy person..I finally got to the store threw the cashier her money and ran out with a box of Benadryl which said two tablets well i took Three...It took about 30-40 minutes after before it went away..So I will tell you we went back to the same beach the next week and this time I wanted to see if it was Food??Or the sea water?? Well It was the Sea Water because I did not eat this time and the same thing happened except I brought the Benadryl this time and took it immediatly..It was not as bad and did not move through my body like it had the first time?? It went away within 15 minutes..I told my mom that night that I was aleergic to the Ocean water and she acted like I was crazy!!  She then told me shes allergic to Sulfar products and gets hives as I did..????? The bell went off in my head and I realized that allergies are heriditary and what I was experiencing was an allergic reaction to the Sulfar in the Sea Water..Just as my mom is I am also allergic to sulfar although she took pills with sulfar in them for her liver which was prescribed..I have read many blogs and it being an imbalance in the water or a sea creature is Bull ****...  Hope this helps..Mike..

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JonnyBoy, Community Member
8/26/10 4:41am

quick answer for all of you.  scabies is the new crabs of the year 2000.  It can live on many people without them knowing it.  The  only thing that can really let you know if you have it is to take a dip in salt water or ocean water for about five minutes.  All the bumps are the scabies burrowing in deeper to escape the salinity of the salt water.  It's a good test to see if you've gotten rid of them.  They are highly contagious and very hard to get rid of.  Doctors will not believe you if you tell them, so you have to say that your partner got scabies and I have to treat myself too.  Do not listen to how the doctor tells you to apply it, read the label and apply from the top of the head to the soles of the feet.  If you don't, you will know why it use to be called the "seven year itch."  Just keep going to the beach at least once a week to see if you've gotten rid of it, otherwise you will be spreading it to more people.  Good luck, let's put scabies on the extinct list!  Say No To Bio-Terrorism....

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hollykf, Community Member
4/18/11 1:53pm

I am a nurse. What these people are experiencing is not scabies. The rash from the salt water  covers almost the whole body.

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JonnyBoy, Community Member
8/26/10 4:41am

quick answer for all of you.  scabies is the new crabs of the year 2000.  It can live on many people without them knowing it.  The  only thing that can really let you know if you have it is to take a dip in salt water or ocean water for about five minutes.  All the bumps are the scabies burrowing in deeper to escape the salinity of the salt water.  It's a good test to see if you've gotten rid of them.  They are highly contagious and very hard to get rid of.  Doctors will not believe you if you tell them, so you have to say that your partner got scabies and I have to treat myself too.  Do not listen to how the doctor tells you to apply it, read the label and apply from the top of the head to the soles of the feet.  If you don't, you will know why it use to be called the "seven year itch."  Just keep going to the beach at least once a week to see if you've gotten rid of it, otherwise you will be spreading it to more people.  Good luck, let's put scabies on the extinct list!  Say No To Bio-Terrorism....

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JonnyBoy, Community Member
8/26/10 4:54am

P.S.  it is currently an epidemic in progress.  It first started in the nineties, died out in the early 2000 and then re-emerged this decade more resistant to previous strength medication.  It use to be 2% permethrin one time cure that would kill them in the nineties, but now it takes 5% permethrin applied a week later to even get close to getting rid of them....

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DJ, Community Member
9/ 2/10 1:35pm

I moved to a barrier island in the Florida Panhandle several years ago.  About 2 1/2 years ago I noticed that when I walked barefooted along the shore my feet, ankles, and hands would have a reaction that looked like a severe sunburn and I experienced burning and itching for about an hour.  It would take a benedryl and a shower, plus about an hour's time for it to go away.

 

As time passed, I realized this occurred more when there was a lot of sargassum (seaweed) along the shore and thought it was some type of flying insect like midges/noseeums that was buzzing around the wrack line which might be biting me.  But I also noticed that it did not seem to affect me when I was on the beach but stayed farther away from the water.  Later I realized it was because the seaweed, along the shore, is permeated with salt.

 

Last month I visited a friend on the mainland who has a saltwater swimming pool and was having a great time splashing about until I noticed my feet were burning.  When I got out of the pool, I was a pretty scary sight.  Anywhere the water touched me, except where my bathing suit was, was bright red.  The burning and itching was intense.  A shower and topical benedryl spray helped after about an hour.  No more salt water for me.

 

Then, yesterday, as a sea turtle patroller, I was called to sea turtle nest on the beach which had been missed (due to all the tracks from oil clean-up crews).  It was about 40' from the water and surrounded by seaweed.  One single hatchling had emerged and I needed to listen to the nest to see if more were getting ready to emerge.  I asked to borrow some plastic sheeting in the back of a UTV of the crew supervisor who spotted the hatchling, not thinking about the plastic having been in the bed of the vehicle for a while and crusted with salt.  After about an hour of working at the nest, the adrenaline of finding a hatching wore off and the pain was becoming intense.  Again, I looked like I had a severe sunburn and was experiencing burning and itching.  I rushed home, popped a benedryl and stood in a cool shower about 15 minutes.  It took almost two hours to recoup that time and when I stepped outside in the sun later to get the mail, I had a mild recurrence.

 

Consequently, it seems like sea salt is the culprit in my case.  I have no problem/reaction ingesting sea salt.  In fact, I use it frequently when cooking.

 

Go figure!!! 

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theatre-cookie, Community Member
9/ 5/11 11:03am

I have recently discovered that i get an immediate red rash with stinging and hives-like blisters every time i go in salt water, touch seaweed, pick up seashells and sea sponges. It is a recent thing, as i have spent a childhood swimming in Australian oceans without incident. I am in my mid-40s and wonder if this sudden change could be hormone related?

 

Funily enough, i have started getting similar red skin reactions when i clean with bi-carb soda, or scrub my chopping boards with salt, or use some of the 'green' non-toxic cleaners, many of which are based on salts.

 

According to another website, some people have intolerance to salt when they touch it. It produces itching sensation on the skin with rashes all over the body. The condition is called contact dermatitis.

 

So i am investigating why I may have developed a salt allergy/intolerance. I dont think it is internal as i dont have many food alleries that i am aware of. I am glad to have found this forum, as I do not feel so alone in my sudden skin reactions anymore!

 

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Mel, Community Member
2/ 5/11 3:02am

For me it started 6 years ago, when went into the ocean in Italy after a storm the night before. A day earlier I was swimming in the ocean with no reaction at all. But since this day everytime I take a dip, I get a rash, worst areas are inner thighs, lower belly and back, armpits. Funny enough it only occurs as soon as I leave the water, I can actually be in the sea for hours without a reaction, but as soon as I dry in the sun I get those itchy hives. If I shower with fresh water they usually go away within 30-60 min and if I shower immediately while still wet I can avoid them altogether. Just a few days ago I got the same reaction after swimming in a river 3-4 kilometers upstream before leading to the ocean. Now I am a bit startled, because previously I thought it was only the sea (salt) water, rubbing on my skin when drying. I also react very mildly when sweating & I got cold urticaria as well, but as far as I know, I do not have any food allergies (I love sushi), or against Sulfar or dairy or wheat. And if I only put my feet in, I am fine too, as long as the waves dont splash up my thighs. I guess I have to try to take some benadryl or other antihistaminica as we are leaving at the beach, I would love to splash with my kids in the ocean. Has anybody tried homeopathy for this allergy?

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JSH78, Community Member
3/ 7/11 4:34pm

I am so glad I found this page. The first time I had this kind of reaction to salt water I was 19.  I have found that I can swim in the ocean for a short time as long as I have a pool close by so I can rinse off right away.  Although, I have always swelled up after eating anything that had sodium, table salt, and sea salt, it never mattered how much or little.  Before I go to sleep I look like a blow fish! I already knew what I would look like in the morning. And I would always feel crappy with swollen face, hands, knees, legs, feet, everything!!! But now I do the same thing on the outside as I do on the inside when I get anything salty on my skin. Swelling, blochy, ichy, tingling, burning, red skin.  Whether it's salt water or sweet.  I ask my Dr. about it and he looked at me like I was crazy and said he has never heard of anyone that was allergic to salt because we need it to survive.  I have had everything checked from heart, thyroid, and immune system and everything looks fine unless you see me after I get into salt....   

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kvjill, Community Member
4/26/11 9:32am

For the last three years I have been to the beach in the summer and have had the strangest reaction each time. After a few days of swimming and sitting on the beach I develop small red bumps all over my body and the skin around my lips swells and oozes- really disgusting!  My doctor has attributed the red bumps to an allergic reaction to the sun.. which now I have to use special sunscreen and always have a hat on, but he never could explain the way my mouth reacted. I have a history of exzema- so I just figured it was a combination of the sun and that. But a week ago someone recommended taking a salt water bath at home to relieve my eczema from this past winter. After that I am itching all over and have the same swelling rash on my lips. I'm wondering if swimming in salt water was really the culprit of the swelling after all. I'm going back to the beach this summer and would really like to swim--can anyone think of something I might be able to apply to my lips or take that would at least make this reaction tolerable? Its bad enough I have to wear long sleeves and hide under an umbrella all day...

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deneis, Community Member
5/21/11 9:11pm

my girl eyes wher red last time she went in the salt water they are burnig red and her face was all red so we put som ice on it to mack it beter

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Paul, Community Member
6/17/11 9:00pm

Hey there peps.  Wow, so many people with the same condition.  I used to do surf lifesaving, then oneday when i was 17 (15years ago) i was out snorkling and i felt very drowsy and i was covered in this rash/welts.  Thats all i remembe of he first time is happen, as i woke up several hours later in a local hospital.  I had all kinds of machines hooked up to me and a number of doctors buzzing around trying to work out what was going on. After extensive tests, nothing.  I have spent the last 15 years going to doctors and allergy specialists to find out nothing. Ive been told it COUlD relate to asthma, sea lice, toxins in my blood or allergy to something else.  No one has been able to tell me what it is or how to deal with it.  When i lived on the sunshine coast(aust) i would go for a swim and then hop out and go straight tot the doctors with the rash.  My condition is now so bad that i can last about 5 before i am covered in the rash and about 10 min before i 'fall asleep/passout'. Ive tried detox's, antihistamines, diets you name it and nothing.  So if anyone ever fully finds out a fix to the problem that would be awsum

Paul

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Alex, Community Member
7/18/11 3:05pm

Hi,

I'm an Italian woman and I'm 26. I've just come back from my holiday in Santorini (Greece) where I first experienced a kind of seawater allergy.

I always swim in seawater during summers, usually in theNorth Adriatic sea that is less salted than the othera areas of the Mediterranean sea but I've also been to Mallorca and Greece (before) and I used to swim even 3 hours with no consequences. No problems with sunbathing

I'm going to the doctor in two days, however I'm investigating different factors. The first day I swam in the pool of the hotel then sunbathed at 1 pm  (for sure it is not good) using sunscreen protector factor 15 on the body and 50 on the face and shoulders. At 3 pm I sat  for few minutes on the edge of the pool on the plastic draining grate and went to swim in the sea. While swimming I started scratching because of the itch I felt on the buttocks-exactly on the area I touched the plastic grate-. I was full of wheals, so I decided to sit in the shadow and after 40-60 mins everything was back to the normality.

The morning after at 7 am I went jogging and the itchy weals appeared again that time on the back of my knees (I used a cortisone pomate I had in my bag) and the only clue I had was the fact that before running I was sitting on the chair of the hotel. Until that I thought the only cause was a kind of disinfectant used in the hotel for cleaning. The day after I sat in the hotel with a long dress to avoid touching any surface with my naked skin and went to swim in the sea again without sunbathe no more than 10 mins before it. I stayed in the seawater no more than 10 mins and I needed to get out because of the scratchy  and itchy sensation. That time I was full of red wheals on legs and arms, with hot ears and red back of the hands. My hands were so swollen that I couldn't close them in fists. I got scared because the reaction was getting stronger time by time. All the times it appears in 10 mins I'm staying into seawater, last for a maximum of 1 hour and then it disappears with goosebumps. For every swim in the sea I started taking 1 or 2 pills of Dirahist (antihistamine) at least 30 mins before touching the seawater and the reaction was under control with only red spots on my skin and hands but light, lasting less time and not itchy. I also used a bottle of drinkable water to wash myself and my bikini after getting out from the sea. 

Other clues are that my mother suffers from solar eczema since she was 10 and it's one year time that I'm working in a food company to develop dairy products with mineral salts addiction, I taste the products more or less every day and they also contain sulfates, so I really think it could be a combination of different factors.

I tried a sort of  allergic test putting these combinations of substances in concentrated spots on my leg for 10 mins:

a. sunscreen factor 50 only (in the shadow and the in the sunlight)

b. sunscreen factor 50 mixed with seawater (in the shadow and then in the sunlight)

c. sunscreen factor 15 mixed with seawater (in the shadow and then in the sunlight)

d. seawater (in the shadow and then in the sunlight)

e. water of the pool

I had no reactions at all.

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anon4now, Community Member
9/16/11 11:26am

Hydrogen sulfide is a chemical asphyxiant, similar to carbon monoxide and cyanide gases.  It causes "biochemical suffocation" by inhibiting cellular respiration and the uptake of oxygen.  Benzene is a highly carcinogenic gas that can cause death if inhaled at high enough concentrations.  Not only that, benzene has been shown to cause leukemia in all its forms.  High levels of both gases have been detected at testing stations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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anon4now, Community Member
9/16/11 11:28am

If all of that we not bad enough, the dispersants that BP has been using to break up all the oil are also highly toxic to humans.  In fact, Corexit 9500 is so incredibly toxic that the UK's Marine Management Organization has completely banned it, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.

And yet BP has dumped over a million gallons of dispersants such as Corexit 9500 into the Gulf of Mexico.

So are there legitimate health concerns about this oil spill?

Yes, there are.

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Robin, Community Member
9/19/11 5:17pm

I am allergic to sulfur which is found in sea salt.  I never went to the ocean much so never connected my sulfur allegry to sea salt.  However, with the recent switch of may restaurants and healthy founds to using sea salt, I found out the hard way that it makes very very very ill.  It may be the sulfur in the ocean water.  If so, some foods with sulfur preservatives may make him sick as well.

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lydell, Community Member
12/30/11 2:12pm

I dont know if ocean water can be the cause or not, I am not an expert. But I am allergic to cold water. Ocean, lake, doesnt matter. Systemic hives all over my body.. I will eventually go into shock and pass out if I remain exposed. Possibly try taking your son to a fresh water area and see if he has the same reaction. Also, be very careful that you monitor his symptoms. If it is what I have and one stays in the water until one passes out one can easily drown, which would be more of a concern to a youngster who may ignore the symptoms. I believe it is called cold water urticaria if you want to google it. Good luck!

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Turks and Caicos, Community Member
1/ 2/12 8:05pm

According to many posts, there appears to be a strong correlation between hives in ocean water and being allergic to sulfa.  I just turned 50 and am vacationing in beautiful Turks and Caicos.  We went snorkeling and yesterday and I immediately broke into hives.  This is the first time I have experienced this in any ocean water. The only known allergy I have is to sulfa.  Today I spoke to many also vacationing here and I found three others who are allergic to sulfa and also break out into hives while in ocean water. Worth looking into deeper. 

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JAMBON500, Community Member
2/ 8/12 10:07am

I work with saltwater aquariums and get the same thing especially during winter months, it happens when your skin is dry to begin with and then when the saltwater gets to it you will feel a burning sensation where all the salt is creeping into the open pores in your skin and as it dries it streches the pores even more resulting in a red blotchy painful rash ! Some sort of dermatological cream from your doctor will help with this, usually i get given one to use in the shower which has worked best, things like E45 do not work though, not for me anyway.

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Ali May, Community Member
2/22/12 5:36pm

I had the same thing going on. I also thought it was the salt water. After a few years just dealing with it, the hives started showing up on other occasions. Turns out I have cold induced urticaria. Salt water is generally cold (I live in WA state) which is why I confused the cause. I now have to wear a medical alert bracelet, carry both an epipen and inhaler, and take antihistamines if there is a chance I will contact anything cold (the cold induced urticaria turned into full blown cold induced anaphylaxis). All the symptoms you can preventatively treat, you just have to see a goood allergy specialist for the tools to do so.

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Frank A., Community Member
6/13/12 6:36am

Hi all,

 

I've been around the ocean all my life from fishing to diving in the past 4 years. I also have owned a saltwater aquarium store as well during this time.

 

About 6 months ago I treated my saltwater fish tanks at the store with Metronidazole (flagyl) which is an antiobiotic. The fish did great, but I started developing hives in my arms anytime I would put my arms in the saltwater. I thought it was a reaction to the antibiotic and paid no mind to it until it started getting progressively worse and the hives will last longer and longer. Most of the time they will be gone within the hour even though it would itch longer than that.

 

Using carbon and massive water changes I succeded in removing all traces of Metro and went back to copper treatment in these tanks. However, the reaction remained the same ever since. I've been to the beach a few times just to double check and I would get the same results.

 

About a month ago I ate a peanut bar and went into a breathing attack. I took some Claritin and it went away. I have never been allergic to peanuts in my life.

 

Finally I visited an allergist last week and have gotten all the tests done. I'm pretty much allergic to everything in life right now and I'm feeling pretty miserable at this point. The doc says I have become very hypersensitive at this point and he will do some more tests to get me into some treatment. At this point I'm taking an aerosol (Ventolin) and taking Prednisone to help with the breathing for now until further tests.

 

My passion is the ocean and now I'm allergic to saltwater go figure.

 

I will follow up with testing and results here and hopefully be able to help someone. My advise for now is stay away from Metronidazole (Flagyl).

 

Frank A.

 

 

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Rachelle, Community Member
8/19/12 7:44pm

That just happened to me today!  I've been swimming in the ocean my whole life and this is the first time I've ever had an alergic reaction to the water.

I was swimming with the Leopard sharks in La Jolla.  The water was warm and clear and perfect, but then my skin started to sting.  When I got out of the water I looked down and I was covered in red hives!  Disgusting!  I went to the lifeguard station and they said just dry off and warm up and they'll go away.  And they did.

They said it could be some type of algae in the water I was allergic to.  And they said it wasn't a jellyfish, because the rash was on my entire body.

I went into the water again to make sure it was the water and not some other factor and I got them again.  They're all gone now though, but it was scary!  But swimming with the sharks was awesome!  :)

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Shelly, Community Member
11/13/12 10:30pm

Kelly I am so glad you posted this.  I have read through all of these posts up to yours so far and was going to mention the Candida (yeast) also.  Candida is an epidemic and most people develop allergies to all kinds of things they were never allergic to before.  I have had this problem for several years and I am 48 yrs. old and have been battling Candida for years.  I walked through the ocean only up to my ankles the other day after hurrican Sandy and by the the time I made it back to our car the itching and hives were so intense they were driving me crazy, I became very irritated.  You can carry candida around with you all your life.  If anyone is not familiar with Candida please check into it.  It may save your life. Many people believe now that Candida can be the cause of many diseases over time.  I have three girls and they all have it also.  Our last born has many allergies and eczema.  She is six now and we have virtually eliminated the eczema by eliminating the food culprits.  Candida can also cause allergic reactions to mold.  We had to take her out of pre-school after testing and finding several molds that were making her extremely sick.  I could go on all day as to everything I have researched and found out in the last 6 yrs.  Always willing to share... as we all can learn from each other.

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Shelly, Community Member
11/13/12 10:30pm

Kelly I am so glad you posted this.  I have read through all of these posts up to yours so far and was going to mention the Candida (yeast) also.  Candida is an epidemic and most people develop allergies to all kinds of things they were never allergic to before.  I have had this problem for several years and I am 48 yrs. old and have been battling Candida for years.  I walked through the ocean only up to my ankles the other day after hurrican Sandy and by the the time I made it back to our car the itching and hives were so intense they were driving me crazy, I became very irritated.  You can carry candida around with you all your life.  If anyone is not familiar with Candida please check into it.  It may save your life. Many people believe now that Candida can be the cause of many diseases over time.  I have three girls and they all have it also.  Our last born has many allergies and eczema.  She is six now and we have virtually eliminated the eczema by eliminating the food culprits.  Candida can also cause allergic reactions to mold.  We had to take her out of pre-school after testing and finding several molds that were making her extremely sick.  I could go on all day as to everything I have researched and found out in the last 6 yrs.  Always willing to share... as we all can learn from each other.

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Shelly, Community Member
11/13/12 10:45pm

Cold urticaria and celiac disease.

Source

Allergy Department, University Hospital La Paz, Madrid, Spain. m.pedrosa.d@gmail.com

Abstract

Cold urticaria can be associated with blood and thyroid disorders, drugs, or infections. Celiac disease is an autoimmune enteropathy caused by permanent gluten intolerance. It is often associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as chronic idiopathic urticaria. Nevertheless, association with cold urticaria has not yet been described. A boy aged 3 years 8 months presented local urticaria-angioedema when exposed to cold temperatures. An ice cube test was positive and iron deficiency anemia was demonstrated. He later developed legume intolerance, rhinoconjunctivitis related to pollen sensitization, and asthma. Due to persistence of cold urticaria symptoms and refractory anemia, a test for immunoglobulin A autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase and an intestinal biopsy were performed. Results of both tests were compatible with celiac disease.A study of human leukocyte antigen indicated a high risk phenotype (HLA, DR6/DR7; DQA 0501, 0201; DQB 0301, 0201). After 7 months of a gluten-free diet, the boy's anemia resolved and he is free of symptoms when exposed to cold. This is a first description of the possibility of an association between celiac disease and cold urticaria. A poor course of cold urticaria in the absence of evidence of another underlying condition should lead to suspicion of celiac disease.

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nyxmonopoli, Community Member
7/27/13 10:03am

So I think I have made a breakthrough. Now this obviously does not apply to everyone, since there are many reasons for hives and rashes, but for anyone struggling with hives that appear when they go in salt water or sweat, I think I may have figured something out. Now, I developed this strange allergy about 2 years ago. Whenever I went in the ocean, when the salt dried on my skin (particularly my face) I would break out in very itchy hives and immediately have to wash my face & body with fresh water & take an antihistimine to make them go away. This never happened in fresh water, like showers and pools, so I know its not aquagenic urticaria. The hives also started to occur on my face, chest & arms whenever I would sweat during exercise, or just on my face when I cried and the tears would dry. Since I worked in an allergy office with 3 great allergists I thought they would be able to help me with this issue, but none of them had any answer as to the cause & just suggested I take an antihistimine everyday & deal with it. This really depressed me, as I like to get to the root of problems, not just put a band-aid on them, so I started doing research on my own. The common denominator in all of these things would seem to be salt...but since it really isn't possible to be allergic to salt, since its a crucial part of our bodies, I knew it had to be something else. Now since the hives seemed to be the worst on my face, I started thinking that maybe I was putting something on my face (like a lotion, sunscreen or makeup) that was REACTING WITH THE SALT in the ocean, sweat and tears and causing my skin to irritate and break out in hives. Further research pointed to the fact that many people are allergic to the preservatives or fragrences or sulphates used in everyday products and don't necessarily realize it. Sometimes the allergic reactions happens immediately & sometimes it is a delayed reaction that is triggered by something else (like salt). Now these chemicals (parabens/fragrence/sulphates) are used in almost everything from moisturizers to sunscreens, to shampoo/conditioners, makeups, laundery detergents, soaps, etc etc etc. The problem is, if you are allergic to one of these things, you need to replace all of your products with hypoallergenic, paraben-free, fragrence-free natural products (which is a pretty big pain in the ass for women in particular since we use so many products). So I switched my face wash, moisturizer, makeup, body lotion, sunscreen, shampoo & conditioner, and laundery detergent to all oil-free, paraben-free, fragrence-free, sulphate-free products....and lo and behold...the hives stopped happening!!!!! So my advice to anyone with a problem similar to mine would be to see where the hives are happening worst on your body & think about what you have put on your skin recently, such a sunscreen, lotion, shampoo or even the laundery detergent in your clothes. I now have an appointment with a new allergist to have testing done for irritants in common household products, as I would like to know the specific chemical that I need to avoid. I will follow up in the future with the results. I hope this post will help some of you!

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By Christina, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/16/14, First Published: 06/26/08