The 6 Most Terrifying Allergies You Can Actually Get

Allergies are your body's way of saying it hates you. About one in five of you are allergic to something, whether you know it or not. And while those of you who go into sneezing fits around cats or pollen may think you've got it bad, you have no idea.

Here are six allergies that would probably make you consider investing in one of those huge plastic bubbles.

#6. Electricity

Electrosensitivity (or the more impressive-sounding Electrical "HyperSensitivity") is the term used to describe this growing phenomenon. In essence, it's simply an allergic reaction to electricity or electromagnetic fields. You know, like the ones your entire body is sitting in right now.

Reports about sensitivity to electricity began with the introduction of computer monitors. People complained about a whole host of symptoms, and this was before the spread of wi-fi and cell phone towers (which release a related but more powerful type of electromagnetic energy than electrical wiring) made the whole thing much worse.

About three percent of people complain of electrosensitivity symptoms, though there is no reliable way to test for it so it's difficult to know how many of those people actually have the allergy and how many just like to bitch.

"What's it going to do to me?"
Let's see, we've got nausea, fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness, ringing in the ears, depression, difficulty remembering things and skin rashes. You name it, this allergy has it. Basically, it can inflict pain on every part of your body with the possible exception of your hair.

Probably best to avoid this thing

And while it's not listed as an official side effect, the most disorienting side effect may in fact be that it makes the Amish look like sane and reasonable people. Hell, Ted Kaczynski will probably start to make a lot of sense after your laptop gives you a third degree sunburn all over your groin.

"For the love of God, what do I do?"
Let's face it, if you think electromagnetic fields are hard to avoid now, come back in 20 years when everything from your kitchen table to your dog has a flat screen display built into it.

Your only real recourse is installing very expensive EMF filters in your home. There are companies that specialize in EMF protection, such as LessEMF who sell special electromagnetic field-repelling clothes. Their catalog does not make it clear if these are all reflective jump suits, so we'll go ahead and assume they are, and that 1960s science fiction was right about the future.

But more importantly, does any of it actually help? Well, that's where it starts to get weird.

The problem is, since the whole phenomenon is kind of new, we don't know much about it. And the long list of varied, seemingly unrelated symptoms have caused some researchers to assert that patients are, "Making shit up." In fact, some test subjects apparently showed symptoms even when there was no electrical fields around, or only when they thought there were.

You can tell the sufferers it's all in their head, but that's what they say about our fear of clowns and that doesn't magically make it go away.

#5. Exercise

They call it Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis--pretty much any arduous activity can trigger it. And when triggered, it has a nasty habit of killing you. Imagine the joy an actual exercise allergy would bring to the fat-marbled hearts of children across America who think they now have a permanent excuse to get out of gym class.

"Why yes, I have been playing video games for 17 straight hours," they say from their sweat-soaked sofa. "It's the only thing keeping me alive."

"What's it going to do to me?"
Symptoms begin after you've finished exercising. It can start with hives and skin irritation. Then comes tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing and then coughing.

Of course, any out of shape person will recognize most of those symptoms from their own bouts with exercise (or trips to the mailbox without a mobility assistance scooter). The important question in determining if you're actually allergic is what happens next. Do the symptoms recede while you leaf through your catalog of gender-neutral tent dresses? If so, you're probably just in bad shape.

If you do have an exercise allergy, things should be progressing from the already crappy hives, coughing, chest-tightness stage to what's called anaphylactic shock. It's easy to recognize because your blood pressure plummets, your lungs close and you experience fainting and many other things doctors call symptoms and we call "dying."

By this point, someone should be calling an ambulance. If not, either no one likes you or they decided your retarded exercise allergy is simply natural selection at work.

"God says oxygen is for closers."

"For the love of God, what do I do?"
As you've probably guessed by now, this isn't just a "get fat for free" card. In fact with all this attention being paid to exercise, your doctor's still going to want you to move around, just at a slower pace. So now you're the guy walking 2 MPH on the treadmill, creeping everyone out at the gym. Your only solace will be how much worse it would get if you did decide to push it to 2.5, making you the guy who collapses mid-lunge forcing the cute receptionist to call 911 while you wheeze and crap your pants, and everyone crowds around you, whispering, "That guy looks like he's going to die any second. Let's watch."

#4. The Cold

This allergic reaction can occur when stepping outside on a cold day or if, say, all of your hot water was used up by your roommate and you get blasted by a cold stream when you turn on the shower.

"What's it going to do to me?"
Everyone's reaction can be different, but the main symptoms will show up on the skin (rashes) or in the nose and chest (wheezing breath). Cold allergies can cause generalized fatigue and--get this--decreased learning ability. Yes, this allergy can turn you into a moron, which goes a long way towards explaining most of the events in the Winter Olympics.

Some people develop hives (red itchy spots) on the skin when they encounter cold temperatures (called cold uticaria) and it can be triggered by any rapid cooling. So you can even get it during warm weather, when you first climb out of a swimming pool for instance. In fact, if you have cold urticaria, jumping in very cold water can kill your ass. This means that old trick where you run up to the edge of the pool and stop short while your friend jumps in could technically be a form of manslaughter. Yes, even if there was actually water in the pool this time.

Probably best not to do this.

"For the love of God, what do I do?"
This is one your doctor can test for, using the ingenious method of holding an ice cube against your skin and seeing if a rash forms. That actually doesn't seem like the kind of test you need a doctor to do, but maybe they use special ice or something.

After telling you that you have a cold allergy and your life as you know it is effectively over, he'll likely give you antihistamines and advise you to avoid the cold, which again makes it seem like pretty much anybody can be a doctor with a few hours training. Either way it means for a few months out of the year (depending on where you live) you'll be known as that creepy shut-in who stares longingly out the window and scares the shit out of the local children. Though we should note that some of you are already that guy without the aid of any medical condition.

So what else could you be allergic to that would give you even more of an excuse to stay inside and surf for internet porn?

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