Awareness * Advocacy * Research

Preparing for Your First Appointment –

There are ways you can help your doctor prior to your appointment in making an accurate diagnosis.

  1. Keep a log of reactions.  This log should include the day, time, location of reactions, and activity at time of reactions. Also include a description of the reaction, where it is located, if it changes and how long it lasts.
  2. Provide pictures of the reactions.  An 8×10 in a well lit area will be best for the doctor to review.  Have at least one photo up close and clear.  Have another with the reaction on display in the picture, but also with the upper half of the body included in the photo.  Provide no more than two pictures per reaction and no more than six photos total.  Include photos of different body locations and separate reactions if possible.
  3. Do not intentionally self test with ice cubes or ice water.  Some individuals are known to become anaphylactic immediately on exposure.  Allow a medical specialist to do all the testing.  Also, not all forms of Cold Urticaria are reactive to direct contact or react within the allotted time allowing for false negative testing.
  4. Complete a self assessment of other possible environmental causes and list actions to remove them or make appropriate adjustments to determine causation. Be prepared to provide to the doctor.
  5. Provide a list of other allergies and health issues to the doctor.  With this list, include list of other family members with related health issues.

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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