Cold urticaria

Cold Urticaria: Overview of What it is and Treatment Options

Cold Urticaria is an allergic reaction to cold temperatures. It is typically diagnosed in those between the age of 20 to 40 years old and occurs more often in women than men. Symptoms can vary, but are usually itchy spots or hives on the skin. Treatment is usually centered around avoiding cold temperatures and taking medication when necessary.

Symptoms of Cold Urticaria

Common symptoms of Cold Urticaria include:

  • Red, itchy, or swollen patches on the skin
  • Pain
  • Swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat that can lead to breathing difficulties
  • Fainting

The most common symptom is a red, itchy, and swollen patch on the skin that occurs after the skin has come into contact with cold temperatures. This can include contact with air, water, cold objects, or even cold food consumption.

Causes of Cold Urticaria

The exact cause of Cold Urticaria is unknown, however, it is believed to be caused by an autoimmune response that affects the release of histamine. Histamine is a chemical that is released when the body is exposed to an allergen or antigen and causes the allergic reaction. This reaction can be triggered by cold temperatures, and the body responds with the release of histamine, which in turn results in the red, itchy, and swollen patch on the skin.

Risk Factors & Diagnosis for Cold Urticaria

Risk factors for Cold Urticaria include age, gender, and family history. It is more likely to affect those between the age of 20 and 40, women are more likely to be affected than men, and those with a family history of allergies are more likely to develop this condition. Diagnosis is usually done by skin tests in which the patient's skin is exposed to cold temperatures, and a reaction is observed. In some cases, blood tests can also be used to look for antibodies that could indicate the presence of Cold Urticaria.

Treatment Options for Cold Urticaria

The main treatment for Cold Urticaria is to avoid cold temperatures. Other options may include:

  • Antihistamines: These can help to reduce symptoms. Over-the-counter versions are available, and some prescribed versions are also available.
  • Cortisone creams: These can help to reduce redness and itching.
  • Immunosuppressant drugs: These are stronger medications that can help reduce symptoms in more severe cases.
  • Phototherapy: This treatment involves using ultraviolet light to help control the symptoms of Cold Urticaria.
  • Epinephrine: This is used in severe cases to help reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Desensitization therapy: This is used for more severe cases and involves slowly exposing the person to cold temperatures.

Prevention of Cold Urticaria

The best way to prevent Cold Urticaria is to avoid cold temperatures. This can include avoiding cold weather, wearing clothing that is designed to keep you warm, and avoiding cold liquids or food. If the condition is severe, then medications may be necessary to help prevent an allergic reaction.