Those unexplained small, red wheals and bumps on your face,
neck and hands, may be cold-induced urticaria.
"ALL you want to do is scratch," said cold-urticaria sufferer Jessica Poris when asked how it felt to experience an allergic reaction. "It's like suddenly having poison ivy. At first, you are really surprised, then your skin calms down and you become more relaxed. Ten to 20 minutes later, the hives are gone."
The ice-cube test:7According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, cold urticaria is diagnosed by placing an ice cube on the forearm for four minutes and then watching the area over a 10-minute period.
Check for symptoms while the skin rewarms.
- Those without cold urticaria may experience redness during the four-minute exposure period, but redness should disappear soon afterward.
- There is a distinct difference between redness and hives.
- Those with cold urticaria, will experience a rapid onset of hives immediately after the four-minute exposure period.
- After 10 minutes of being ice-cube free, red, iritating hives should appear.
- It may be shaped like the ice cube or grow and spread.
- Patient will feel discomfort.
- The forearm will:
Only an allergist can confirm the condition.
If you tested positive, you may not have cold urticaria.According to the Allergic Diseases Resource Center, "Cold urticaria can be restricted to certain areas of the body, for example, where there has been a cold injury, or at the sites of allergen immunotherapy (desensitization) injections, or insect bites. Another skin condition, which is related to cold, is cold-dependent dermatographism, where hives form if the skin is scratched and then chilled."7
© 2005 Randi N. Bernfeld