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.


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.


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."

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?


As with the allergy to exercise, we hesitate to make too much fun of those allergic to sunlight because between the two, they're creating a potential group of dedicated Cracked readers. Allergy to sunlight, also known as Solar Urticaria, is a complete nightmare.

People with solar urticaria make allergic antibodies against various proteins found in their own skin, creating a reaction when exposed to sunlight and presumably causing them to hiss, bare their teeth and scurry back under a bridge somewhere.

"What's it going to do to me?"
Symptoms of this allergy really aren't that bad. If you don't mind breaking out in hives wherever sunlight can (and will) find your skin. We're talking within minutes of exposure. Though as long as you're not a hippie nudist, the trips to the emergency room should be restricted to the less embarrassing regions of your skin. So, y'know, you can take solace in that.

Why would you end up in the emergency room, you ask? Well this is yet another allergy that could lead to anaphylaxis. So, once again, we have the dropping blood pressure and the victim trying to suck air through uncooperative lungs. In a nutshell, this means you could die a horrible, horrible death, the sun effectively becoming God's gigantic death ray.

"For the love of God, what do I do?"
You go to your doctor and get tortured some more. Seriously. A diagnosis is made when the skin is exposed to various forms of light, or sometimes just regular old sunlight, while they watch to see just how hivey you get. It will be around here that you'll start to wonder if your doctor is enjoying this, and come to the undeniable conclusion that he is.

Antihistimes or oral steroids will only decrease your symptoms, not make them disappear. They can try to desensitize your skin with repeated exposures to sunlight, seemingly following the Tyler Durden method of alleviating suffering. That therapy only lasts for a few days and needs to be repeated frequently, which in your mind, probably appears to be missing the point. We'll just stay inside, thanks.


Having this allergy is reason number 146 why you will never have a job in the adult film industry. A semen allergy can be a general reaction a woman has to any semen, or she may just be allergic to yours. So ladies, you now have an excuse to let a guy down easy. Just pull out the note from your doctor.

This reaction tends to be on the woman's side in the sense that we can't find any examples of men whose semen makes all women react badly (except in a metaphorical sense). What we do have examples of is men being allergic to their own semen. So let that sink in for a moment.

"What's it going to do to me?"
This is where it could get ugly. That whole area down there is not a great place for a woman to break out in an allergic reaction, and the sensation has been described as feeling "like 1,000 needles have been injected in them at one time."

Reports show women could have swelling, itching, burning of the genital areas, and in severe cases, our old friend anaphylaxis shows up. So if at any point during intercourse, your partner starts screaming, "OH NO, MY BODY IS ON FIRE AND I CAN'T BREATHE," your response should not be, "THAT'S RIGHT, MY DONG IS THE LOST ARK OF THE COVENANT AND YOUR VAGINA IS THE NAZIS."

After several hours of apology

"For the love of God, what do I do?"
Finally some god news. Researchers have found that having sex two to three times a week can help quite a bit, though maybe this isn't as fun as it sounds with the whole "feeling like 1,000 needles" thing.

The alternative is they can give the woman allergy shots to desensitize her to the semen. These injections would include small doses of her partner's semen. So basically, either do the nasty as much as possible (possibly while she's breaking out in hives and can't breathe) or have the doctor do a semen injection. If it's the latter just make sure you're absolutely clear in your instructions, and that he is actually a doctor.

"But Cracked writers," you're probably saying, "Surely we've reached the end of the list! How could any allergy be worse than this?"


That's what's worse. This is a rare allergy in which water itself (not any chemicals in the water) are causing the reaction. You would think, since our bodies are made mostly out of water, that you'd be a hivey, rashed-up mess all the time if you had this, right? We're not doctors, we're just thinking out loud, here.

This condition, called Aquagenic Urticaria is very rare, but people do have it and somehow they're still alive.

"What's it going to do to me?"
The itchy hives will usually develop within 15 minutes of contact with water, but can last for a couple of hours. So bad news, you'd have to give up going to the pool and hitting on all the younger bikini-clad girls who affectionately call you, "That creepy old molester-looking guy we had to call the cops on that time." Unless you want to risk the chance of one of them splashing water at you, causing a painful breakout and earning you the new nickname, "Creepy old molester guy who appears to be slowly turning into a lobster."

And don't forget how bad you would smell. The Australian girl who was in the news with this condition has to take one-minute showers. Any more than that, and she'll break out in hives that itch so badly she'll scratch them until they bleed.

For those of you thinking that this is yet another allergy that fits neatly into your no sun/exercise/shower lifestyle, imagine how you'd react to the sound of thunder if you knew rain was going to react like acid on your skin. We're thinking it'd be less than awesome.

You should also cancel any invasions of other planets that are mostly water

"For the love of God, what do I do?"
We decided to let this website speak for itself:

"If the water itself is causing the hives, then doctors will usually recommend using a steroid cream or antihistamine to treat the symptoms. The goal of this treatment is to relieve the symptoms, and hope that the condition goes away by itself. There are no approved medications that will cure water urticaria, and there is no guarantee that they will go away on their own. There is only hope.

There are two issues with this approach:

First--these medications are not a cure, they only treat the symptoms. Second--is that steroids and antihistamines can have severe side effects. They are not intended for long-term use."

Wow, all of those words when a simple, "You're fucked" would have sufficed. We hope you're the "hopeful" kind of person that doesn't mind "severe side effects" that even the website won't name, presumably because they're so horrific that now the writer can't sleep at night and lays curled up in a ball, sucking on their thumb. Though probably not because, if you're allergic to water, we're guessing you're allergic to hope, too.

If you liked that, check out Your Body Hates You: 6 Gruesome Disorders Anyone Can Get. And remember to watch Gladstone countdown The 6 Most Underwhelming Moments from Steve Jobs' iPhone 3G Unveiling.

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