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Little girl who is allergic to water can't even cry without getting blisters, mom says

Ivy's mom started a GoFundMe page to help offset medical costs for Ivy's condition.
Ivy's mom started a GoFundMe page to help offset medical costs for Ivy's condition. Brittany Angerman/GoFundMe screenshot

Rain is a menace. Bath-time is impossible. For this Minnesota two-year-old diagnosed with an allergy to water, even her tears are enough to cause an angry red rash.

"She's curious about water because she's a kid," Ivy's mother Brittany Angerman told INSIDER.. "[But] once she gets in the water, she's terrified. She's trying to climb the walls of the bathtub. As a mom that's probably the hardest thing ever, seeing her in pain and her not realizing why she's in pain. I feel horrible when I have to give her a bath. It breaks my heart."

The condition is real, and it's called aquagenic urticaria. It is extremely rare - only around 100 cases had ever been recorded in medical literature before 2011, according to a case study published in the journal Annals of Dermatology.

Ivy can still drink water, but angry, painful red blisters and rashes appear whenever water makes contact with her skin. Her parents told Inside Edition the condition began when their daughter was about eight months old.

At first her mom thought something else had to be causing the reaction.

"I did all things every mom would do," she told Inside Edition. "Eliminate bath products, check laundry detergent, check fabric softeners."

None of it worked. Ivy's allergist, Dr. Douglas McMahon, told Inside Edition the case was "baffling."

"People think our bodies are made of water — we need water. That’s why there’s so much intrigue about it," he told the site.

When Ivy takes a bath, a painful, burning rash can be seen on her skin up to the water line, Ivy's mom told Inside Edition. "She can feel the reaction coming, she can feel the heat," she told the site. "She says, 'Mommy, ouch, it’s hot, touch it.'

One of the worst parts is that Ivy is still too young to completely understand what's going on, Ivy's mom told PEOPLE, and that can make her symptoms even worse. When the rash is so painful Ivy begins to cry, her tears can cause an outbreak on her face.

“The more she cries, the worse the reaction is, but she’s too young to understand that," Ivy's mom told the site.

"As a father it absolutely breaks your heart," Ivy's dad Dan Angerman told Fox 9.

The family started a GoFundMe page in February to get help with Ivy's treatment and medical costs, which has raised more than $41,000 so far.

"Each and everyday our hearts have been touched! All the support has been amazing for our family and Ivy Lynn!" Ivy's mom wrote in an update on the campaign.

Thank you everyone so much for your love and support please be sure to share my story! Love, Ivy Lynn www.gofundme.com/ivylynn

Posted by Brittany Angerman on Monday, February 26, 2018

Researchers are still unsure why aquagenic urticaria develops. Some say the condition may not actually be caused by the water itself, but by some unfiltered substance in the water that penetrates the skin and causes the allergy, according to the National Institutes of Health. Now the family is planning to move out of their old home, which Ivy's mom says has an older water filtration system that could be making Ivy's outbreaks worse.

"Now my family and I are going to have to find a new home with a well, a purified water system, and central air, as this would greatly limit the severity of my reactions," Ivy's mom wrote on GoFundMe in her daughter's voice.

For now, Ivy is getting by with careful attention and a regimen of antihistamines, according to Fox 9. But there are still a lot of unknowns.

“Is she ever going to be able to go to daycare? Is she ever going to be able to go to public school? Is she able to ever go in the ocean? I don't know," her mom told the station. "I just hope that someday she can drink water and be able to live a somewhat normal life.”

New NIH guidelines mark a major shift in dietary advice. The guidelines are based on landmark research that found exposure to peanuts in the first year of life lowers a baby's chances of becoming allergic. Credit: AP

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