NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Water is a vital resource. We all need it to survive. So imagine if touching it could kill you. That’s the reality for people with a rare condition — they’re allergic to water.

While drinking water isn’t a problem. For patients, the trouble begins when water touches the skin. Hives, intense itching and even breathing problems follow.

Some patients are so sensitive, their own tears and sweat can cause a reaction. Doctors say even they are not sure of the exact mechanism of why a patient develops a water allergy.

Want to find out more?  Watch the full CBS 2 special report: