Can you really be allergic to the cold?

Published February 25, 2015

Winter is often a time to enjoy the beauty of nature's scenes and children playing in the snow, but for those who suffer from cold induced hives, it can also be a time of fear and trepidation.

The condition is called cold urticarial and it presents itself in the form of a rash that is intensely itchy, and welts on the skin. It is often triggered by histamine being released, such as from an allergic reaction, and occurs most frequently in adults aged 20-40. The most common symptoms include localized hives after the skin is exposed to anything cold, such as air, water or car keys.

Symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but the most common are hives, with sufferers experiencing a burning sensation, itchiness and or swelling. For some patients, symptoms may actually worsen after the cold exposure has ended, and during the warming period.

The trigger for these symptoms is likely colder outdoor temperatures, which is especially problematic for those who live in areas with extreme conditions.

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