You've probably heard about food and drug allergy. But did you know that your body may be excessively sensitive to…cold?
Cold hives (or urticaria) is a chronic skin reaction, which usually affects young adults and children. Statistics says that women are more likely to suffer from this condition than men.
Cold urticaria occurs during exposure to low temperatures (4C or 39F). However sometimes symptoms may become apparent in warmer temperature.
Though the most common symptoms include reddish itchy bumps and swelling in the exposed area, urticaria may be really dangerous.
Severe symptoms develop, when the whole body experiences cold influence (like when you swim in the cold water). This may lead to extreme drop of the blood pressure, fainting, swelling of the throat and tongue, breathing problems and even to death, as a result of systemic reaction. That's why this trouble requires immediate medical cure.
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Actually most people notice that symptoms become worse not during exposure to lower temperature, but when the skin warms after that.
Nobody knows exact reasons of cold hives. Scientists say that it's about immune reaction, during which your body releases histamines and other chemicals to the bloodstream.
It was found that there are two forms of cold urticaria.
Acquired (or essential) form may occur because of infection (for example, after pneumonia) or due to existing health problems (like hepatitis or cancer).
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This type of cold hives begins in several minutes after exposure to low temperatures and lasts no more than two hours.
Familial urticaria causes symptoms within 24 to 48 hours after exposure to trigger. It commonly lasts nearly 24 hours but may continue even longer.
This form of disorder is linked with heredity. So ask your close relatives, if they had the same problems.
Unfortunately, we don't have a magic pill to help you get rid of this skin reaction. You really need to limit exposure to cold and avoid ice-cold beverages.
Keep antihistamines (fexofenadine, desloratadine) handy to prevent cold-induced hives or reduce the symptoms.
It's worth consulting with your doctor to examine your body and find possible underlying health issues, associated with after-cold problem.
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