For most athletes, sweating is simply a natural byproduct of playing sports – but for one college soccer player, sweating can be a life-threatening experience.
According to report by ABC News, 20-year-old Caitlin McComish from White House, Ohio suffers from a very severe form of a common condition called cholinergic urticarial. Whenever her skin is exposed to sweat, her body has an intense inflammatory reaction, causing her to develop hives and her throat to swell.
The inflammation can be powerful— if not treated quickly, it can be deadly.
McComish said she experienced her first major attack when she went on a run in May 2013.
"I was right in front of my grade school," she told ABC News. "I had a really upset stomach, tingly palms and the bottoms of my feet. I was really, really itchy. It hit me like uncomfortable heat waves. Then I could feel the swelling in my throat, and my tongue got tingly and thicker."
Fortunately, McComish was able to call her mother before she collapsed.
An avid soccer player, McComish has tried a number of different strategies lessen her body’s response to sweat. She tried wearing a cooling vest and taking ice baths before practice, but nothing seemed to work.
Finally Dr. David Lang, chairman of the department of allergy and clinical immunology at The Cleveland Clinic, advised McComish to undergo Xolair injections – a drug typically used to treat asthma. Since starting this treatment, McComish has shown a “dramatic response” and is back on the soccer field once again.
"Somehow I got to see Dr. Lang, I think out of the grace of God,” McComish said.