Cold Urticaria = Cold Hives
Uticaria(ur-ti-CARE-ee-uh) is also known as:
- Angioedema 1
- Hives formed on the skin, mouth or esophagus, in response to physical contact with cold stimuli: snow, rain, swimming pools, showers, cold beverages, etc.
- Usually, hives appear while the skin rewarms from the drop in temperature. 2
- The hives may last from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the severity of exposure.2
- A severe exposure is swimming in very cold water. If you have cold urticaria, I suggest that you NEVER SWIM ALONE. Swimming is quite dangerous and can cause you to faint, go into shock or even die. If you suffer from cold urticaria or react similiarly to cold stimuli, please talk to your doctor or allergist before swimming in cool waters.
- "A hive is a circular, red, spongy lesion that evolves and changes over minutes to hours," according to About.com.
- "Hives itch, sting and burn."1
- The hives vary in size from a tiny 2mm to a giant hive, called a lesion, which could cover an entire extremity.3
How do hives form?
- Cold urticaria sufferers respond to the change in their body temperatures differently than those who do not suffer from the allergy.
- "The hives are produced by a rapid release of histamine brought about by IgE antibodies and eosinophils (a type of white blood cell often involved in allergic reactions) in response to the cold," according to Dr.Greene.com.
- Rapid cooling, from the evaporation of getting out of a swimming pool, can trigger cold urticaria on the warmest of days.6
- According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) January 2005 records, cold urticaria is defined as one of the 185 most rare conditions.
- Others' listed are Anthrax, Rabies and Syphilis.5
- According to Dr. Michael Richheimer, an allergist from Long Beach, N.Y., an over-the-counter antihistamine, taken about 30 minutes
prior to swimming, may be sufficient enough to prevent such a severe reaction.
He added that allergy sufferer are not alike.
"Some people are more sensitivity to certain stimuli than others. Precautions should always be taken, but these can range from taking a pill, wearing a wet suit or to just never entering a swimming pool."
More About Hives
How many individuals have cold urticaria?
© 2005 Randi N. Bernfeld