It is a special skin condition that resulted after the exposure to cold environmental. Skin then become reddish and itchy with hives. Reaction to cold can be from mild to severe in intensity. Some people can have other associated symptoms along with just skin condition like low blood pressure and fainting or shock.
Symptoms appear quickly after the exposure of skin with cold object and presented as follows
- Temporary reddish and itchy hives on the skin area which is being exposed to cold
- When skin warms reaction become worsened
- When holding cold objects swelling of hands occur
- Swollen lips from drinking cold water
- Anaphylaxis causing fainting, increase heartbeat, swelling of limbs and shock
- Problematic breathing due to swollen airway
The exact cause of cold urticaria is not known but studies shows that some people are hereditary sensitive to cold things or they become cold sensitive due to viral infection or some illness. When such person are exposed to cold histamine are released in the blood stream that causes severe allergic reaction in the body leading to the development of hives and reddish skin.
Diagnosis of this condition depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of patient. However, it can easily be tested by a test in which ice cube is placed on the skin and after five minutes hives appears in a sensitive person.
- This condition is usually self-limiting and go away in one or two months.
- In severe and long lasting condition medications are prescribed like Nondrowsy antihistamines [loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and desloratadine (Clarinex)] and Omalizumab (Xolair).