Awareness * Advocacy * Research

Awareness for Cold Urticaria and other Cold Allergies

154689_1740349348105_3747683_nAwareness that Cold Allergies exist and are debilitating and life threatening for affected individuals is very important.  Medical professionals are most important.  Even in this day and time of advanced awareness for medical issues, their are doctors and paramedics that have never heard of an allergy to temperatures.  Despite many reactions are truly pseudo allergies, the life-threatening outcomes and treatments remain the same.

Cold contact urticaria accounts for approximately 3% of all cases of chronic urticaria. Among all physical urticarias, CCU represents the second most common subtype after symptomatic dermographism. CCU is characterized by the development of wheal and/or angioedema within minutes after cold contact. Extensive cold contact of large areas of skin may lead to systemic reactions such as generalized urticaria, dyspnoea, tachycardia, hypotension and loss of consciousness. Severe CCU has a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life both in a physical and psychological sense.

US National Library of Science – NCBI

CU Awareness Ribbon

National Center for Advancing Translational Studies

Merck Manuals

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Nuggets of Wisdom

Yes, there is such a thing as having an allergic type reaction to temperatures. This is defined as a physical urticaria. Other physical urticarias include Solar, Aquagenic, Pressure, Vibration and Exercise.

Most reactions are pseudo-allergic. By definition, an allergy involves inhaling or consuming an allergen. Physical urticarias have no known allergen. Despite the terminology and medical definitions, systemic reactions can be life threatening.

Cold has an arbitrary definition based on an individual feeling. For a person with a cold urticaria, cold can be defined as any temperature cooler than their own body temperature.

You do not have to be cold to have a reaction to the cold; contact with cold can trigger a reaction.

You can have an allergic type reaction to both cold and heat simultaneously.

Most reactions considered anaphylactic are really anaphylactoid by definition.

Moving to a warmer climate as a treatment for Cold Urticaria is a myth. Warmer climates present their own issues for those with Cold Urticaria.

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