Awareness * Advocacy * Research

There are several types of Cold Allergies, even more including subtypes.

The different types are acquired, hereditary and idiopathic forms.  Within these you can have acute and chronic cases which define the length of time someone suffers from the condition.  Then you can have primary and secondary diagnoses which define whether the condition is a distinct condition unrelated to another condition or it is a direct result of another condition.

Acquired conditions are usually developed following:

  • Bacterial & Viral infections,
  • Hymenoptera insect bites,
  • Blood transfusions received from someone with a cold allergy
  • Parasites

Idiopathic (Though the cause is unknown Idiopathic is considered acquired.)

Rare Diseases
Physical Urticaria
Allergy and the Skin

TypePrimary / SecondaryIce TestAcquired / Familial / IdiopathicCommonalityCharacterized by
Cold Contact UrticariaPrimary Cold Contact UrticariaPositiveAcquiredMost CommonHives and occurs in rainy, windy weather, and after contact with cold objects.
Cold AgglutininsSecondary Cold Contact UrticariaGeneral Cooling 82-88 Degrees Farenheit 28 - 31 Degrees CelciusAcquired / IdiopathicRareHives due to hemolysis
CryoglobulinemiaSecondary Cold Contact UrticariaGeneral CoolingAcquired / IdiopathicRareHives due to serum abnormalities
CryofibrinogenemiaSecondary Cold Contact UrticariaGeneral CoolingAcquired / IdiopathicRareHives due to serum abnormalities
Familial Cold Autoinflammatory Urticaria (FCAS)PrimaryFamilial autosomal dominantRareRash, conjunctivitis, fever/chills and arthralgia
Muckle Wells SyndromeSecondaryGeneral CoolingAcquired / FamilialExtremely Raresensory deafness, inflammation such as fever, arthritis, and malaise
Neonatal-onset Multi System Inflammatory Diseases (NOMID)PrimaryGeneral CoolingFamilialExtremely Rareskin rashes, severe arthritis, and chronic meningitis leading to neurologic damage
Reflex Cold Urticaria Localized GeneralizedPrimaryPositive, but not at site of application, usually on extremitiesIdiopathicExtremely Rarehives and occurs in rainy, windy weather and after contact with cold objects
Idiopathic UrticariaPrimary / SecondaryAcquiredIdiopathicSecond most Commonhives and occurs in rainy, windy weather and after contact with cold objects
Cold Dependent DermatographismSecondaryGeneral CoolingFamilial / IdiopathicRareHives on stroking of the skin (Skin Writing)
Systemic Cold UrticariaPrimaryNegativeRareFull body hives on contact with cold and in rainy, windy weather and immersion
Cold Induced UrticariaSecondaryNegativeFamilialCommonhives and occurs inr ainy, windy weather and after contact with cold objects
Cold Induced AngioedemaPrimary and SecondaryPositiveEdema in the cell tissues, last longer > 24 hours <72 hours
PLAIDPrimaryPositiveFamilialRarehives and occurs inr ainy, windy weather and after contact with cold objects
Mast Cell Activation SyndromePrimaryFamilial / IdiopathicRare

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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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