What is cold allergy (cold urticaria)?


Know the basics

What is cold allergy (cold urticaria)?

Cold allergy (Cold Urticaria) is a reactive skin disorder to cold. Skin that has cold allergy will get red and itchy hives.

How common is cold allergy (cold urticaria)?

Cold allergy happens more commonly in young adults. And it usually gets better within a few years. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of cold allergy (cold urticaria)?

The common symptoms of cold allergy (Cold Urticaria) are:

  • Temporary reactions of skin to cold: The skin usually gets red, welts and itching.
  • Swelling of hands or lips and throat when touching cold objects or food.
  • Severe reactions: Fever, headache, anxiety, tiredness, and sometimes fainting. Some rare cases people may have palpitation or heavy breath.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Skin reactions after cold exposure, even when the reactions are mild
  • Sudden reactions after cold exposure: feeling dizzy, difficulty in breathing or swelling in tongue or throat

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes cold allergy (cold urticaria)?

The exact causes of cold urticarial are still unknown. Several people have an inherited trait, a kind of virus, or an illness that can lead to more sensitive skin cells.

In most of cases, cold exposure delivers histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream that cause the redness, itchy feeling reaction.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for cold allergy (cold urticaria)?

There are many risk factors for cold allergy (Cold Urticaria), such as:

  • With the young adults and children: They are more likely to get primary acquired cold allergy. It will, however, improve itself in next few years.
  • People who just had an infection: such as pneumonia
  • People who have any fundamental health condition: such as hepatitis, or cancer.
  • People who have certain inherited trait: even though cold allergy is rare to inherit.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is cold allergy (cold urticaria) diagnosed?

Cold allergy can be diagnosed by putting ice on the skin for a few minutes. If you have cold allergy, hives will appear after a few minutes the ice cube is removed.

Many cold urticarial happens without any underlying cause. But with ones caused by underlying conditions, doctors may require blood tests or some other tests.

How is cold allergy (cold urticaria) treated?

You may be recommended to try over-the-counter antihistamines to prevent cold allergy.

If home remedies do not work, then you need to consult your doctor to have a prescription for you. There are some specific used to treat cold allergy:

  • Antihistamines: They prevent releasing histamines causing cold allergy symptoms
  • Cyproheptadine: It is an antihistamine that also prevent nerve from being leading to symptoms
  • Doxepin (Silenor): It is often used to treat anxiety and depression
  • Omalizumab (Xolair): This medication is used to treat asthma and a number of people with cold allergy.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cold allergy (cold urticaria)?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with cold allergy (Cold Urticaria):

  • Antihistamines: Using these medication will help stop the releasing histamines that lead to cold allergy.
  • Protect your skin from sudden changes in temperature

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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