HEALTH

California teen allergic to water dreams of becoming a lifeguard

She's physically fit, a talented swimmer and has a passion for the water. So what could hold 19-year-old Bradlee Sanchez back from fulfilling her dream to become a lifeguard?

Maybe it's the fact that she is allergic to water.

That's right, the California teen was diagnosed at age 12 with an incurable skin condition that only around 50 people in the world suffer that makes her break out in painful hives accompanied by itchiness and a blotchy, red reaction.

Her allergy, called aquagenic urticarial, however, has not kept her out of the pool or the ocean, as she continued swimming competitively throughout her childhood with the help of a waterproof cream that she coats her body with before getting wet.

Despite the cream, Sanchez still breaks out in a slight rash when she gets in the water, but toughs it out because she can't imagine not doing the sport that she has been competing in since she was six.

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"It's usually red and blotchy for about 45 minutes," Sanchez said according to the Daily Mail. "I used to be up all night because it was so sore but now I've learnt to deal with it. I don't worry about it anymore."

While she can drink water without any problems, daily tasks such as showering or washing her face have become a chore – not to mention the occupational hazards she faces when at her job as a live-in nanny for 3-week-old twins.

"I take showers at night and just learnt to deal with it," she said. "I have to be careful about people spitting on me when they talked. Or spilling water on myself and I get hives when the babies drool and cry or me."

While she damaged a nerve when she was hit by wave, Sanchez is still determined to become a lifeguard and join her college swim team when she begins studies next year.

"I'm not going to give up — I was really upset when it happened but I'm going to continue therapy until I can start training again," she said.

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