Can You be Allergic to Cold?

Cold stimulus causes certain skin allergies and causes red welts on the skin which looks like large hives (urticarial). Such allergies are known as Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. This happens as the skin is in contact with severe cold substances and gets red and itchy.

Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria has varied severity on different people. The reactions vary from person to person. The majority of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria is caused due to swimming in cold water. The whole system of the body reacts due to swimming in cold water. It results in low blood pressure, shock, fainting or even death in some situations.

Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria

Young adults are more affected by Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. It does not stay for more years though. Consult your primary physician if you are suffering from the syndrome of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. Antihistamines intake and protection from cold, cures Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria.

Can Cancer Cause Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria?

There are few possibilities of developing Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria due to cancer. Underlying health condition like secondary acquired Cold Urticaria can be caused by hepatitis or cancer.

Causes of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria

The exact cause of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria is not known. Some people have sensitive skin type due to any pre-possessed illness, trait or virus attacks. Due to extreme cold, histamine is secreted in to the blood along with other chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the redness of the skin and irritation in the body system.

Types of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria

Cold Induced Hives or Cold Hives or Cold Urticaria is of 4 types:

  1. Primary cold contact hives or urticaria
  2. Secondary cold contact hives or urticaria
  3. Reflex cold induced hives or urticaria
  4. Familial cold hives or urticaria.

Discussed below are the characteristics of the 4 above mentioned types of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria.

  • Primary Cold Contact Hives or Urticaria: This is a dermal condition where the limbs experience swelling in windy, rainy conditions. People who swim in cold water are more likely to get affected by this type of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. Cold contact urticaria occurs when the body comes in contact with cold objects like ice. This can also result in death if not attended immediately.
  • Secondary Cold Contact Hives or Urticaria: Secondary cold contact hives or urticaria is a skin condition which displays hives because of abnormalities in the serum such as cryoglobulinemia.
  • Reflex Cold Hives or Urticaria: Reflex Cold Urticaria is a dermal condition in which there is a widespread swelling caused in the body when it is exposed to extreme cold.
  • Familial Cold Hives or Urticaria: Also known as familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome or FCAS, this condition causes skin rash, fever, conjunctivitis, or arthralgias when exposure to cold below 72 degree F.

Signs and Symptoms of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria

The signs and symptoms of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria are:

  • Reddishness in the skin for some time; irritating hives on the skin due to extreme cold conditions.
  • The situation gets worse as the skin gets warm.
  • The hands usually get swollen when it comes in contact with something cold.
  • Lips and throat also tend to get swollen after taking anything cold.

Other Serious Signs and Symptoms of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria:

  • The person might faint due to severe cold temperature. The heart beat gets increased abnormally and the body figure or the limbs swell.
  • The tongue and throat gets swollen and creates difficulty in breathing.

The symptoms of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria shows as soon as the skin is exposed to lower temperature or may be cold water. When the skin is exposed to a temperature below 39 F (4 C), the skin reacts due to Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. However some people can experience the reactions of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria in comparatively warmer conditions. Moist and windy atmosphere causes such reactions in people more.

Swimming in cold water causes the major damage to anyone who is sensitive to Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. It may even cause drowning and fainting to the person. Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria lasts for usually a week in most people. However it may last for a few months in some people.

Immediately consult a doctor if you have any skin reaction due to cold exposure. Never ignore even if the symptoms are mild or under control. Take immediate medical help for any allergy due to cold. Take immediate medical attention if you feel the following:

  • Feeling light-headed.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Swelling of tongue or throat.

Factors of Risk for Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria

Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria can happen to people of any sex and age. The following are the major risk factors for Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria:

  • The risk of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria is more in children and young adults. Children and young adults are more attacked by primary acquired Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. The syndrome however clears up automatically with growing age.
  • The risk of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria is more in people who have other infections due to cold, for example - pneumonia.
  • People suffering from hepatitis or cancer have more chances of developing secondary acquired Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria. This is a less common type of Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria recorded in people.
  • Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria is inherited by some people. This is rare and can cause painful welts and other symptoms of flu.

Complications for Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria

Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria can become very serious if there is too much of an exposure to cold. This happens mostly to people who swim in cold water. Cold Induced Hives or Cold Urticaria can also result to death if not attended immediately.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: December 28, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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