Cold urticaria family (urticaria)

Skin | Allergy & Immunology | Cold urticaria family (urticaria) (Disease)


Cold Urticaria, essentially meaning cold hives is an allergy where hives (urticaria) or large red welts form on the skin after exposure to a cold stimulus.

Cold urticaria signs and symptoms may include: reddish, itchy hives (wheals) on the area of skin that was exposed to cold; swelling of hands when holding cold objects; swelling of lips when eating cold foods; in rare cases, severe swelling of the tongue and throat that can block breathing causing pharyngeal edema.

Signs and symptoms of a severe reaction include: fainting, chills, fast heartbeat and swelling of limbs or trunk. A severe, whole-body reaction to cold such as swimming in cold water can lead to fainting, shock and even death.

Cold hives can result in a potentially serious, or even fatal, systemic reaction like anaphylactic shock. People with cold hives may have to carry an injectable form of epinephrine.

Causes and Risk factors

The cause of cold urticaria isnt clear. Certain people appear to have overly sensitive skin cells, either due to an inherited trait or caused by a virus or other illness. Exposure to cold triggers the release of histamine and other immune system chemicals into the skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is typically obtained by an allergist or other licensed practitioner performing a cold test. The most important treatment is to stay warm. Medications can help prevent and reduce symptoms. ...

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