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Article by: Ayla Ahmed

Did you know that it’s possible to be allergic to the sun? How about leather? Coins? Allergens are present in almost anything and everything around us today so it comes as no shock that one can develop an allergy to all kinds of strange things. An allergy is when the body’s defence system overreacts to a specific substance, some of the most common being animal fur, food, pollen and dust. But who knew that one could develop an allergy to things as common as water, or the sun?

Here at ISM, our diverse population presents our very own peculiar allergies. Mr. Relf who allergic to his own sweat, for example, shares how really “anyone can develop an allergy to just about anything.” He tells Bamboo Telegraph that he first saw signs of his allergy eight years ago after developing a terrible rash upon returning from a run through the forest. He remembers thinking that perhaps he had accidentally come in contact with some poison ivy, however, the same reaction occurred when he went for a second run. Finally, after eliminating all other options, Mr. Relf decided to visit the doctor who confirmed that he is, indeed, allergic to his own sweat. Such an unavoidable allergy surely poses difficulties to everyday life, especially since the Philippines demands that the body release sweat everyday in order to cool itself down. When asked about how living with such an odd allergy affects his daily life, Mr Relf tells us that, “It doesn’t, really.” He emphasizes how this is the way his body reacts to sweat and their really isn’t much he can do about it. He also shares how, since simply not sweating is unreasonable and totally out of the question, he takes an antihistamine daily to keep the reaction under control, thus highlighting how despite the fact that being allergic to something as common as sweat may have its negative side effects, there are still ways to cope with such allergens.

Yet another example of an ISMer with crazy allergies is sophomore Sophia Lapus. Unlike Mr. Relf, Sophia has had her allergy to food colouring for as long as she can remember. She tells BT that, “I get really itchy, get hives and swollen eyes when I eat or drink food that is very artificial”.  However she also agrees with Mr. Relf that while she “tries to avoid artificially colored foods like fake orange juice”, it doesn’t really affect her on a daily basis. This emphasizes how having an allergy, be it as unavoidable as Mr. Relf’s or as rare as Sophia’s, does not have a significant impact one’s way of life. It is simply the body’s natural reaction to a particular substance and this can be easily avoided through preventative measures.

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