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Cold Urticaria: An Allergy To Cold Weather

Cold Urticaria: An Allergy To Cold Weather
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Cold Urticaria

allergic to the cold


Cold urticaria is a condition that results in allergic reactions to cold temperatures or cold weather. This allergy to cold is most often seen in children and teenagers and can range in severity from mild symptoms to life-threatening allergic reactions.

What Causes Cold Urticaria?

The exact cause of cold urticaria is unknown, but some cases have been linked to the following underlying conditions or disorders:

  • Mononucleosis
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Chicken pox
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Cryoglobulinemia

Types of Cold Urticaria

Primary Cold Contact Urticaria

Primary cold urticaria is characterized by a cutaneous allergic reaction to cold temperatures. When the skin is exposed to cold, it becomes irritated and may develop hives.

Secondary Cold Contact Urticaria

Secondary cold urticaria is characterized by a more severe cutaneous allergic reaction to cold temperatures. When the skin is exposed to cold, it turns red and immediately becomes inflamed.

Reflex Cold Urticaria

Reflex cold urticaria is characterized by a severe allergic reaction to the cold in which large welts rapidly form all over the body when exposed to cold temperatures.

Familial Cold Urticaria

Familial cold urticaria is characterized by a rapid and severe allergic reaction to cold temperatures in which the individual develops a widespread rash, fever and chills.

cold urticaria

Cold Urticaria Symptoms

  • Itchy skin
  • Redness
  • Large welts
  • Swollen lips and mouth
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Wheezing
  • Fainting
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Diagnosing Cold Urticaria

Cold urticaria can be diagnosed by a primary care physician, although they may refer the patient to an allergist to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will perform a through physical examination and assess your medical history. They may do a cutaneous test to see how your skin responds to cold temperatures. This involves placing aa block of ice on the patient’s skin and watching for irritation to occur.

Treating Cold Urticaria

There is no cure for cold urticaria and in in many cases, the condition resolves on tis own with time. Your doctor will recommend that you limit your exposure to cold temperatures in the meantime. They may also prescribe you antihistamines to decrease the severity of symptoms that occur when exposed to the cold.

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