No matter what the diagnosis, learning that your child has a chronic health condition is always heartbreaking and difficult. For the Angermans, it has also posed a unique, uphill battle for their daughter: avoiding water. Ivy Angerman is an 18-month-old from Minnesota who, in October 2017, was diagnosed with a rare condition called aquagenic urticaria. If she comes in contact with any form of water—even her own sweat or tears—she'll break out in painful hives, blisters, and rashes. It doesn't matter how hot or cold the water is, and severe skin irritation occurs quickly after contact.
Ivy's mom, Brittany Angerman told People: "It has changed everything in our lives. We’ve become an indoor family."
It all began when they noticed their little girl was having "random allergic reactions after bath time," according to the family's GoFundMe page. Even after eliminating bubble bath, shampoos, soaps, etc., Ivy would still get blistery rashes. Since her diagnosis, the Angermans know that giving Ivy even 15-second baths in plain water mean the little girl will be in "torturous pain," Angerman explains. So, they try to bath her just once a week, although sometimes they have to do it twice. Angerman, as well as her husband Dan and 12-year-old stepsister Alexis, also try to preempt the need for extra washing by keeping her away from crayons and markers.
“It really hurts me to not have her play with markers, but she’ll get it on her and I will have to clean her with water,” Angerman explained. “There is a lot more TV time than playing outside. Even if she runs around the house she will get worked up and the sweating will cause all the symptoms to start."
Ivy, who her mom describes as a "little tomboy," also can't go outside if it's raining or snowing. Angerman is also concerned about her toddler going to day care and anything that may make her daughter cry, as the tears will cause her face to burn.
And of course the condition will affect the family's travel plans. "We think about Disney World and taking her to the ocean and how we might not be able to do that," Angerman shared. "These are the places kids dream of seeing. I want her to live her life.”
Another terrifying possibility is that she could eventually become allergic to water internally, making normal water consumption a risk. “I wonder if one day her throat will start to swell up when she drinks it,” Angerman said. "It’s already getting worse.”
For now, the family is focused on moving to a new house with a well, a purified water system, and central air which would make Ivy's reactions less severe. To that end, they created their GoFundMe page. “The house we’re renting now was built in 1901 and doesn’t have air conditioning,” Angerman noted. “It’s a house that is very hard to keep cool and will be extremely difficult for Ivy when it gets warm.”
So far, the family has raised nearly $25K of their $50K goal. "We are so grateful,” Angerman told People. “We really want everyone out there to know that. It means the world to us to have the support to help our daughter.”
UPDATE: Brittany Angerman reports to People that her daughter's condition is worsening. Her reactions last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Ivy's only relief is an antihistamine that reduces the longevity of the reaction. Unfortunately, Ivy is starting to notice her hives are getting hotter—and Brittany is heartbroken to see Ivy fear her own body.
Throughout this difficult time, the Angermans have received so much support through advice, condolences, and donations. “We can’t put into words how happy it makes us to know that strangers care,” Brittany told People. “It makes you realize how there are a lot of good people in this world.”
With summer quickly approaching, fears of seeing their daughter sweat terrifies the family. The Angermans need help as they continue to search for the best home for their daughter and other remedies that could improve her condition. Here is a link to their GoFundMe page for those interested in helping the family.