Does your skin go crazy after cooling down?  It could be an allergy to the cold

Cold allergy, or rather cold urticaria, is a skin reaction that occurs as a result of a sudden cooling of the body. The wheals that appear then go away on their own and are usually not accompanied by additional symptoms. Where does this problem come from?

What is cold urticaria?

Cold urticaria (hypothermia) is associated with a sudden cooling of the skin, which has little to do with the seasons. It can appear in winter, after contact of bare skin with snow, and in summer, when bathing in cold water. The appearance of urticaria can be influenced by, for example, a cold shower, eating ice cream or chilled foods, skin contact with a cold object. Because such a reaction depends on the individual predisposition of the body, it does not have to appear in everyone, and if it occurs, it can have different severity.

The tendency to cold urticaria may be the result of complications after viral and bacterial infections or accompany autoimmune diseases (e.g. with lupus).

The appearance of wheals is the result of the release of histamine, which is involved in causing allergic reactions. When the mast cells that secrete it are overstimulated by allergens or stimuli such as cold, the amount of histamine in the body increases, which causes an adverse reaction.

Symptoms of cold urticaria

In the case of cold urticaria, the symptoms are characteristic and appear only when the skin is exposed to lower temperatures.

Its main symptoms include the appearance of itchy blisters on the skin after contact with cold air or water. The blisters may be accompanied by swelling of the skin. If the tendency to urticaria is acquired, the lesions appear a few minutes after cooling down and persist for several hours. In the case of familial urticaria, which is passed on in the genes, the symptoms are visible only 24-48 hours after the skin has cooled down and persist for up to two days.

If the release of histamine, which is responsible for the appearance of wheals, is high, the body’s reaction may also include coughing and shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or swelling of the throat (e.g. when eating ice cream). In extreme cases, anaphylactic shock may occur.

Can cold urticaria be treated?

Hives associated with hypothermia should be diagnosed by a doctor who will prescribe the use of antihistamines in appropriate doses. It is also worth avoiding swimming in cold water, taking a cold shower or drinking ice-cold drinks if you are allergic to cold.

See also:

The four most common winter skin problems. Most of us know them all too well

Five beauty products that we will reach for in winter. They will save our skin

Atopic dermatitis. What to do when symptoms worsen in winter

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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