Cold Urticaria is an allergic reaction caused by the cold. Symptoms for this allergy are hives, wheals and swelling. These symptoms are usually extreme on the areas that have been exposed to cold. Cold weather, cold foods and even cold water can cause the allergic reaction of cold urticaria to appear. Symptoms can range from mild to extreme with the extreme end causing anaphylaxis.
A doctor can determine whether your symptoms are linked with cold urticaria before determining what type of treatment you will need. Ice-cubes are used in a simple diagnostic test where the ice-cube is held to the forearm for up to 4 minutes. This is done as a patch test on the skin much like one you would perform with hair dyes before changing hair color. If the cold exposure from the ice cube leads to hives, welting or swelling cold urticaria may be the diagnosis given.
Treatments for Cold Urticaria:
Antihistamine medicines may be prescribed to treat outbreaks of hives associated with cold urticaria. Medications that include antihistamines are Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec. These medications are taken orally to relieve symptoms of cold urticaria after they have taken place.
Topical medications are also used as a treatment for cold urticaria. Topical medications are creams or gels used on top of the hive and welt breakouts. Topical treatments for cold urticaria may include benzydamine, Histarix cream or other topical treatments. However topical medications rarely prevent future allergic reactions to cold urticaria.
Treatments for severe reactions to cold urticaria often include an injection of epinephrine most commonly known as an Epi-pen or Twinject. These may be prescribed to those who have been known to break out with severe hives leading to anaphylaxis for emergency situations.
Prevention of Cold Urticaria:
The best way to avoid the outbreaks of cold urticaria is to prevent them from happening. Avoiding cold exposure by staying warm is the best method. Although this is not always possible depending on climate and weather, those suffering from cold urticaria should wear layers and not have skin exposed when going out into a cold area. Air conditioned rooms and pools may lead to an outbreak. Cold surfaces, cold drinks and even cold foods can lead to an outbreak. Breezes on sweat ridden skin can also lead to outbreaks of cold urticaria. Anyone dealing with this medical problem should speak with a medical provider to find out more on how to cope with this disease.
(Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This information was gathered from a variety of medical sources but can change as medical science evolves. If you are having any of the symptoms mentioned please seek medical advice from a professional!)