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Is There An Allergy To Cold Weather

Treatment For Cold Allergies

Doctor explains allergy to cold weather

Treatment of cold urticaria involves avoiding the cold, when possible, and taking antihistamines. The antihistamines are best taken before exposure to cold temperatures to block some of the histamine release. Many of the over-the-counter antihistamines interfere with learning. I recommend a nonsedating drug, such as loratadine or cetirizine .

How Do Doctors Diagnose Cold Allergy

If you think you might have cold urticaria, make sure to see a doctor for diagnosis. They’ll perform something called “the ice cube test,” which involves a doctor holding an ice cube to a patch of bare skin, and then watching “for a hive swelling to develop as the skin starts rewarming” over the next five to 15 minutes, according to Dr. Palacios-Kibler.

It’s important to get a doctor involved in your treatment. Not only can they give you tips on managing the allergy and use blood tests to rule out other causes for your hives; they can also help you stay aware of the serious dangers cold urticaria can create. Folks with a severe version of the allergy can experience “systemic anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction due to hypotension, or low blood pressure” when they go out in extreme cold weather, or jump into a cold body of water. If you have a severe allergy to the cold and jump into a cold pool, for example, you can go into anaphylaxis and asphyxiate, Dr. Palacios-Kibler notes. So don’t try to handle this allergy on your own â it can be riskier than it sounds.

Lisa And Veronicas Story

It was the end of May, chilly for the Chicago area, and my 14-year-old daughter Veronica decided she wanted to go swimming at her best friends house. The thermometer of the pool read only 68 degrees, but Veronica and her friend were eager to wear their new swimsuits and have some fun.

The girls polar plunge took only 10 seconds; they immediately gave up on swimming and decided to lie out in the sun on the deck.

As Veronica exited the pool, I noticed her legs were bright red and splotchy. She wiped her legs dry, but the splotches soon turned into itchy welts. I took her home, drew a warm bath, and gave her Benadryl. The welts went away soon after.

I figured her reaction was some type of histamine response, so I called an allergist for an appointment. After testing, the allergist diagnosed Veronica with cold urticaria.

Essentially, cold urticaria means cold hives. Its the bodys histamine response to a cold stimulus. We learned that cold air could trigger a reaction. Living in the Midwest where long, harsh winters are common, we knew wed need a well-thought-out plan for prevention. We invested in the warmest of outerwear and we carry epinephrine auto-injectors wherever we go in case she experiences a severe allergic reaction.

Fortunately, Veronica has remained hive-free since that pool incident although we now vacation in only the warmest of places, where we are confident the water temperature will always be warm.

Lisa Pavalon

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How To Avoid Mold Dander And Dust Mites

Even if you only have an idea of what might be causing your indoor allergies, there are steps you can take for relief. Mold, pet dander, and dust mites are the most common culprits.;In most situations, the key is avoidance.

Dust mites survive on the skin we shed. So if a dust-mite allergy is the problem, wash your bed sheets weekly in hot water and invest in allergen-reducing mattress covers.

If pet dander gets you sneezing, ban pets from your bedroom, and keep the door closed. If your pet allergy is severe, you may not be able to keep the pet in the house at all. Pet dander, says Nish, can linger in the house for months, triggering symptoms even after the pets no longer live there.

Then theres mold. Mold loves moisture, so it grows especially well in damp rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. Scrub refrigerators, sinks, tubs, floors, and garbage cans regularly to keep build-up and your allergy symptoms to a minimum.

Besides the;indoor allergens;themselves, other triggers may worsen winter allergy symptoms without actually causing the allergy. If youre having a bad allergy day, snuggling by the fireplace or fire pit may not be the best idea. Smoke from wood fires can irritate the nose and especially the lungs in people with allergy, explains Nish.

Last, says Nash, remember that winter allergies dont have to be permanent. Consult an allergist for more extensive treatment if these steps dont help alleviate your symptoms.

How To Prevent Cold

Cold air and asthma: Four ways to cope this winter ...

The only way to effectively prevent a runny nose from developing due to cold exposure is to avoid breathing in cold air. One way to do that is by covering your nose and mouth with a wrap or scarf while outdoors, which allows the air to become warm and moist before you inhale it.

Vasomotor rhinitis will not usually get better with;antihistamines;but may get better by using a;nasal;steroid;or;nasal antihistamine;spray. The best medication for the treatment of vasomotor rhinitis, especially when the symptoms are a nose that runs like a faucet,” is Atrovent nasal spray.

Atrovent works by drying up the mucus-producing cells in the;nose and can be used as needed since the spray will start working within an hour. Atrovent nasal spray is available by prescription onlycheck with your doctor to see if this medication is right for you.

Finally, use a humidifier while indoors. Even if the temperature in your home is mild, the air is generally drier during cold-weather months. Humidification can help keep your mucous membranes optimally moistened.

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You Don’t Have These Symptoms

Colds and allergies share many of the same symptoms, so it can be tough to tell which one you’re going through. Because they share symptoms — such as coughing and congestion — it’s helpful to consider the symptoms that these two conditions don’t share.;

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, there’s a good chance you have a cold:

  • Fatigue
  • Severe headache
  • Sore throat

Another way to tell the difference between a cold and allergies is the duration of your symptoms. Colds usually go away on their own in seven to 10 days, whereas allergies persist until they’re treated or until the trigger is gone — which can take months depending on what you are allergic to.

If you know you’re allergic to pollen, you can try an app like Zyrtec AllergyCast to check the pollen counts and see if it’s a good idea to go outside.;

Swelling Of The Throat

“While most suffer from itchy welts or hives, some have experienced severe reactions. These include difficulty breathing from swelling of the throat and anaphylaxis after more intense exposures such as jumping into very cold water,” says Wang. This could be pretty scary, so check with a doctor if you think you’re allergic to the cold and are experiencing such symptoms.

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Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies

Typically, your immune system protects against bacteria and viruses. But if you have an allergy, your body has an oversensitive response to something that normally should not cause a reaction. We dont know why allergies develop, according to Dr. Schecker, but we know these things seem to be inherited.”

Allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy, watery or swollen eyes
  • Sneezing and runny nose

Allergens can also worsen asthma, eczema and sinus problems, so its especially important to avoid triggers if you have any of these conditions.

Dont mistake allergy-related coughing and sneezing for a common cold or flu, which peaks from December to February. These ailments have different triggers, symptoms and treatments. A fever, body aches and a sore throat often point to a cold, but cold and allergy symptoms vary widely. If symptoms last longer than a few weeks or include itchy eyes, you may be experiencing an allergy. See your doctor for discomfort that wont quit.

Cold Weather Alleviates Allergies

Experts: Hot and cold weather causing allergy nightmare

Some allergies can decrease in the winterthose triggered by tree, grass and weed pollen, for exampleas theres less pollination in colder temperatures, says Angel Waldron, a spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. However, if a person is allergic to mould, their allergies can worsen in cold temperatures since there is more of it.

Here are a few of the most;dangerous myths about food allergies.

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Your Symptoms Last And Last

Colds are progressive; you can have a sore throat, which turns into a runny or congested nose, which then becomes a cough, perhaps with a side of a low-grade fever. But after a few days, a cold will run its course, Dr. Bikhazi said.

Allergies, on the other hand, won’t quit without treatment, or until the season ends with a hard frost. If it’s been two weeks and you’re not getting better, talk to your doctor about seasonal allergies, Dr. Bikhazi suggested.

NEXT: Coughing

With a cold, you’ll cough. But allergies tend to produce more sneezing and wheezing as your body tries to shed harmful allergens. If itching around your mouth or eyes accompanies your coughing and sniffling, allergies are likely to blame.

Colds can also come with fevers, whereas people with allergies don’t run hot.

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Less Common Form Is Inherited

The other form of the allergy is inherited and rare, Dr. Silver says.

;Familial cold auto-inflammatory syndrome comes from a genetic mutation from a gene that codes for a certain inflammatory protein, Dr. Silver says. While the more common cold urticaria is skin-deep, the inherited condition affects people on a deeper level and may require a trip to a rheumatologist and treatment with anti-inflammatory medicine.

With the inherited allergy, it takes 24 to 48 hours for symptoms to appear, and the symptoms last longer about 24 hours.

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You’ve Got All The Typical Symptoms

If you think of sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes when you think of seasonal allergies, you’d be on the right track. There’s a good chance you have seasonal allergies if you experience any of the following symptoms:;

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Itchy throat;
  • Puffy eyelids

Most seasonal allergies are caused by pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. If you have winter allergies, you’re probably allergic to an indoor allergen like dust mites.

How Is Cold Urticaria Diagnosed

Goodbye Cold Weather, Hello Allergies â The Banner Newspaper

If you think you have cold urticaria, seeing a board-certified dermatologist can be helpful. Dermatologists often diagnose hives and care for patients who get hives.

To find out if you get hives from cold temperatures, a dermatologist will ask what symptoms you experience when exposed to cold. Be sure to tell your dermatologist if you develop any of these signs and symptoms when youre exposed to cold:

  • Welts, sometimes itchy

  • Swelling and redness on skin exposed to the cold

  • Lightheaded or faint feeling

  • Swollen lips or swelling in the throat

Your dermatologist may also test your skin to find out how it reacts to cold. Some people are given the ice cube challenge test. If this test is necessary, your dermatologist will place a plastic bag that contains an ice cube on your bare skin, usually your forearm.

Most people who have cold urticaria develop a welt on their skin after the bag is removed and their skin starts to warm up. Even if you dont have a welt from the ice cube challenge test, its possible that you could have cold urticaria. Thats why your dermatologist will ask questions and examine your skin.

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What Causes Cold Urticaria

Its unknown, though some cases are triggered by an infectious disease, an insect bite, certain medications or blood cancer, the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center noted.

The case report called the condition uncommon, or perhaps underdiagnosed. The incidence in estimated to be 0.05% of the population.

In some people, cold urticaria simply goes away after several years.

Apples Make Your Mouth Itch

One little-known symptom of seasonal allergies pops up when you eat certain foods. ” experience cross-reactivity with a lot of foods … cantaloupe, bananas, cucumber and chamomile tea,” Dr. Bikhazi said. These foods contain proteins similar in structure to proteins in certain types of pollen, in this case, ragweed. “You react strongly to the melon, and you get an itching around your mouth,” he explained.

Raw and unpeeled apples are another top cause of oral allergy syndrome.

NEXT: Sinus problems

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Everyone Feels Cold During Winters But If You Get Hives Or A Severe Allergic Reaction To Cold Temperatures Then What You Have Is A Different Problem Altogether


Everyone feels cold during winters but if you get hives or a severe allergic reaction to cold temperatures then what you have is a different problem altogether. If you notice changes to your skin or any other symptoms or experience anaphylaxis due to sudden exposure to cold temperatures then you might have cold urticaria or allergy.

In a recent case study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, a 34-year-old man suffered from low blood pressure and breathlessness after taking a cold shower and had to be admitted to the intensive care unit. After investigations, doctors concluded that the patient had experienced a severe allergic reaction to cold temperatures. This not only indicates that cold allergy is real but also that you should be aware of any symptoms that may occur to avoid severe outcomes.

What causes cold urticaria?

Cold urticaria often runs in families and, in other cases, it can be triggered by autoimmune diseases, viral infections, chickenpox, viral hepatitis and other conditions that affect your blood. If you have cold urticaria, sudden exposure to cold temperatures can cause symptoms. If you suddenly step out in cold weather, take a cold shower or suddenly enter a cold temperature environment like a walk-in freezer, it can trigger the increased production of histamines in your body. High levels of histamines in the body is the direct cause of cold allergy in most cases.

Symptoms of cold urticaria

Is It A Cold Or Fall Allergies

New allergy dangers arrive with the cold weather

Fall allergy season arrives just before blasts of cooler weather start to blanket the country. Not long after, cold and flu season hits in earnest, and indoor winter allergies kick in.

With these synonymous cold-weather sniffles going on, it can be hard to tell which one is ailing you particularly if you have never had allergies before.

But seasonal allergies can strike anytime throughout your life, so it is important to pay attention to your symptoms.

“Fall is really a key point in the allergy season, mostly because of ragweed allergy, which affects most of North America,” Dr. Nadim Bikhazi, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Ogden, Utah, told “Each plant produces a billion grains of pollen, which can travel hundreds of miles and have a tremendous impact on the whole nation.”

Meanwhile, common colds are caused by viruses. “A lot of times, people misdiagnose themselves; they just grab one medication to treat themselves when they’re really suffering from something else,” Dr. Bikhazi warned, encouraging individuals to get tested.

Find out if it’s a virus that’s bugging you, or pollen that’s the problem.

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Raising Awareness Of Unusual Allergies

Allergies can start to become a problem and an active concern in people’s lives for a number of reasons. For the man described in the cold anaphylaxis case report, cold weather became a problem after he’d moved to Colorado from Micronesia, according to Live Science.;The man’s immune system had obviously had an adverse reaction to his relocating from the comparatively warm temperatures of the tropical climate to one of the colder regions of the northern hemisphere.

The allergy’s most common symptom is a rash, but cold-induced urticaria can reportedly be highly dangerous when the body is subjected to a full-body exposure to below-average temperatures.

Such reports as that published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine are of critical importance to doctors amid the new allergy epidemic, as they highlight the unexpected severity of rare allergies that have, until now, not been considered to be life-threatening. There are currently more than 7,000 allergists at work in the United States, studying new treatments, potential cures, and the reasons that more and more of us are suffering from allergies. Even the most innocuous allergies can prove to be debilitating: New Scientist reports for instance that driving with severe hay fever carries the same risk as driving drunk. As they say, such facts are not to be sniffed at.

Swelling Of Lips & Hands

Wang also mentions that “swollen lips” and “swollen hands” can occur when someone who is allergic to the cold is exposed to frosty temperatures or are holding a cold beverage. If this starts to happen, consider drinking from a straw to keep your hands and lips a bit safer from the chilly temperature.

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Living With The Condition

Since that incident, Cara has learned to live with her condition.

My mom bought out most of L.L. Beans catalogue for me, she joked. So I have this great down coat that goes down to my ankles, and its super warm, and it cuts the wind chill.

Usually if I know Im going to be around cold things, and there is no control I have over it, Ill take Zyrtec in the morning. That usually helps a lot, and then if I still have a reaction I have cyproheptadine which is a pretty heavy-duty version of Benadryl, said Cara. So Ill take one of those, and then obviously if my throat starts closing up Ill use my EpiPen. I havent had to use it yet, thank God, but I hope it doesnt have to come to that.

Dr. Lang supported Caras decision to still go out in the cold.

Someone in Cleveland with negative wind chills its important that they dress warmly and limit their exposure, he said. Cold cant be avoided completely. We dont want our patients to hibernate.


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