HIVES – Cold Urticaria

Urticaria is the medical term for a dermatological condition, which is commonly referred to as hives.

Approximately 20 percent of people are affected by hives at some point in their lives.

Cold Urticaria (ur-tih-KAR-e-uh) is a skin reaction (Hive), that appears within minutes after cold exposure.

Affected skin can develop various degrees of itchy welts (hives).  Sometimes starting as an itchy white or red patch before actually forming welts/hives.

People can experience wide and varying degrees of symptoms.

Symptoms may be as minor as hives. On the more severe side of a reaction, people may experience low blood pressure, fainting, shock, and anaphylaxis episodes.

Symptoms can be short term.  In other cases, the symptoms can last weeks or months.

Cold Urticaria can be roughly DIY diagnosed if you suspect you are dealing with Cold Urticaria (Cold triggered hives).  Try placing an ice cube on the skin for five minutes. If you have cold urticaria, a raised bump (hive) will form a few minutes after the ice cube is removed.

People with this Cold Urticaria condition need to take preventive steps such as taking antihistamines with the blessing and dosage recommended by your doctor.  Avoid cold air and water.  Be acutely aware that swimming can trigger such a reaction, as well as damp skin, damp clothing, and exposures to wind and cold.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you suspect such a reaction.  Even more so if a reaction seems serious or lasts longer than a few days.  Or you do not know what you are dealing with.

Symptoms may include:

Temporary itchy welts (hives) on the areas exposed to cold

A worsening of the reaction as the skin warms

Swelling of hands, lips, etc. from cold exposure

Severe reactions may include:

Anaphylaxis, which can cause fainting, a racing heart, swelling of limbs or torso, and going into shock.

Swelling of the tongue and throat, which can make it difficult to breathe.

There is no known definitive cause of cold urticarial as of yet (2023).

Urticarial in general seems to be associated with a variety of other underlying health issues, diseases, viruses, illnesses, vaccinations, Pharmaceutical Prescription medications, OTC medications like aspirin, foods, etc.

There is no known cure at present (2023).  Treatment, preventive measures, and cold avoidance may help.

Current meds that may help (Do this through your doctor)
Take an antihistamine before a cold exposure to help prevent a reaction.
i.e. loratadine (Claritin) and desloratadine (Clarinex).

Omalizumab (Xolair)  An Asthma medication that is also used to treat Urticaria.

Your doctor may prescribe an Epi Pen (Epinephrine autoinjector) to carry with you.