Ivy Angerman of Minnesota is full of energy and curiosity like any 18-month-old child. Her parents say she is a happy toddler except when it comes to bath time. Doctors recently diagnosed ivy with aquagenic urticaria, a rare allergy to water that causes severe hives.
"As a father, it absolutely breaks your heart," Dan Angerman, her father, told KMSP/Fox9.com.
"I just thought, '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 ever going to be able to go to the ocean?" mom Brittany Angerman said.
Doctors told Dan and Brittany Angerman that Ivy may be the youngest person to ever be diagnosed with the condition. Symptoms normally appear in teenage years. No cure exists but people can learn to live with this condition.
"The problem is that every time your body comes in contact with water, you may have a reaction," Dr. Clenton Coleman of Holy Name Medical Center told Fox 5. "So the treatment may include antihistamines, like Benadryl, or most likely reducing your exposure to water contact."
Ivy can only tolerate being in water for 15 seconds before her skin begins to burn and develop blisters. Her mother took video to show Ivy's doctors how her body reacts to water.
"They have her on antihistamines, which seem to be helping the severity of the reactions," Dan Angerman said.
Experts say to minimize ivy's reactions, they need to purify the water systems and use central air so she doesn't overheat.
"I just hope that she can actually drink water and be able to lead a somewhat normal life," Brittany Angerman said.
Ivy's parents say until researchers find a cure, they are doing their best to keep their little girl as healthy and happy as possible.
The condition is so rare not much is known about how to treat it. Only about 50 cases have been documented in medical literature.