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Flint woman speaks out about rare condition on ITV

A YOUNG woman who can’t swim, soak in a hot bath or even cry without triggering a painful rash on her skin has appeared on national television to try and educate people about her condition.

Katie Dell, of Flint, is one of about 35 people in the world diagnosed with the rare condition aquagenic urticaria.

Last Friday the 27-year-old appeared on ITV’s Daybreak to raise awareness of her allergy to water in the hope that people will be more understanding.

She said: “I want my story out there to help people understand my condition. I used to think I couldn’t tell anyone in case they didn’t believe me.

“The feedback has been fantastic and I’ve had lots of messages of support. A lot of people have said they had never heard of the condition before, but now they have they won’t judge me – or anyone else who has it.

“I want to do more TV work as it’s good to get the word out there and raise awareness. I’d love to go on Loose Women.”

Katie, who has had to give up her job as a dance teacher because sweat causes a reaction, said doctors weren’t very helpful at first, and it was only when she moved to Flintshire two years ago that she finally got a diagnosis.

She added: “Symptoms began after I had my tonsils out when I was about 16.

“After the operation I had penicillin and doctors think this may have altered the histamine levels in my body.”

Soon after, Katie noticed she developed a rash every time she came into contact with water.

She can spend no more than a couple of minutes in the shower without breaking out in hives – a rash – and developing painful, itchy skin.

“There is currently no cure and the condition will continue to get progressively worse,” said Katie, who is currently taking medication given to transplant patients.

“The skin is an organ just like your liver or kidneys. The drug is telling my body not to reject the water on my skin.”

Katie will visit her consultant again in two weeks time when doctors will look at trying her on a drug given to cancer patients to try and build up her immune system.

“There are lots of options for me to try. They won’t cure me but if they take away the itchiness or the burning it would make a big difference.”