Cold urticaria usually goes away on its own. But in some cases, it can be life threatening.
In the US state of Colorado, a man nearly died of a “cold allergy” after he got out of the shower. This clinical case scientists described in The Journal of Emergency Medicine.
A case of cold urticaria
A 34-year-old man passed out after taking a warm shower and leaving the bathroom. When his relatives found him, he was lying on the floor, breathing with difficulty, and his skin was covered with blisters.
Relatives told the paramedics who arrived on the call that the victim had previously had allergic reactions to cold weather. The problem appeared after moving to a colder climate zone.
At the hospital, doctors diagnosed the patient with cold urticaria. To confirm the diagnosis, doctors used a skin test with ice cubes. Blisters appeared on the area of the skin to which ice was applied.
Cold urticaria is an allergic skin reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure to cold. Its reasons are unknown. In a patient described by scientists, this allergy led to anaphylactic shock – a severe, life-threatening reaction.
After treatment, the patient was discharged without allergic symptoms. He was prescribed a pen with adrenaline so that he could help himself in case of anaphylactic shock.
Cold urticaria symptoms
For some data, cold urticaria affects about 0.05% of the population. Anaphylactic reactions such as those described by scientists are rare.
- Red itchy rash after exposure to cold.
- Swelling of the chilled area (for example, lips may swell when drinking cold drinks).
- Difficulty breathing.
- Anaphylactic shock.
Symptoms develop within 5-10 minutes and persist for 1-2 hours. They usually go away on their own. In half the cases, this disease disappears over time.