Cold urticaria, also known as cold–induced urticaria, is a skin response that occurs shortly after exposure to cold temperatures. This reaction leads to the development of itchy hives on the skin.
Patient affected by cold urticaria can experience a wide range of symptoms. Some patients may only have mild reactions to cold exposure, while others may experience more severe symptoms. In most case, people with this condition might face significant drops in blood pressure, fainting, or even shock when exposed to cold environments, such as swimming in cold water.
There are two primary types of cold urticaria:
Cold urticaria is most commonly observed in young adults. If you suspect you are experiencing this condition, seeking advice from a medical professional is recommended. Treatment generally involves preventive measures such as taking antihistamines and avoiding exposure to cold air and water.
Cold urticaria can show up with different signs and symptoms:
In more serious cases, these things might happen:
Symptoms of cold urticaria typically arise shortly after the skin encounters a sudden decrease in air temperature or cold water, and higher humidity and windy conditions can exacerbate these symptoms. Each episode usually lasts for approximately two hours. The most severe reactions often occur when the skin is fully exposed, such as during activities like swimming in cold water, which could potentially result in loss of consciousness and an increased risk of drowning.
The exact cause of cold urticaria is not fully understood. It seems that some individuals have skin cells that are very sensitive, possibly due to something inherited, a virus, or an illness. In most typical cases of this condition, exposure to cold makes the body release histamine and other substances into the blood. These substances lead to the development of hives and occasionally a reaction throughout the whole body.
Elevated risk for this condition is linked to the following factors:
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