Every winter people complain that they need to be in a warm climate because they are “allergic” to the cold. While we think most are just trying to dramatize the effects of the cold weather in reality, there are some people who actually are allergic to the cold. The condition known as “Cold Urticaria” is brought on by exposure to the cold. It is caused by the body’s release of histamine i to the blood stream. the same chemical that gets released during an allergic reaction. This condition may be either an inherited trait or due to a virus.
Some of the signs and symptoms are:
• Reddish hives on skin that was exposed to the cold
• Hands that swell when they come in contact with cold objects
• Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat when touched by cold liquids
• Heart palpitations or fainting might occur in extreme cases.
• Headaches, fever and joint pain.
The effects of this allergic occurs when the temperature drops below 39 degrees but can also present at higher temperatures. The condition is usually limited to the part of the body that has been exposed but can have a full body effect if a person goes swimming in cold water or if they aren’t properly dressed in cold weather. One of the ways that it is diagnosed is by placing an ice cube on the skin for five minutes to see if there are any signs of a rash.
Treatment options include taking antihistamines, which will help ease the symptoms, avoiding extreme cold and making sure that you don’t leave areas of the body exposed in cold weather .
People who have cold urticaria should see a dermatologist to obtain prescription medications which may help to ease the symptoms. To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.