Awareness * Advocacy * Research

Cold Induced Anaphylaxis

Cold Induced Anaphylaxis can be either an immediate or delayed, life-threatening reaction, involving two or more body systems, which can be triggered by any exposure to cold, not just aquatic (swimming). One in three patients with Cold Urticaria will have an anaphylactic reaction.  In some cases of cold allergy, the reactions do not follow the typical response of Anaphylaxis to insect, food and other contact allergens.  In these cases, the Central Nervous System and Cardiovascular System may be the first and only recognizable systems to fail.  It is quite important for school personnel, administrators, teachers and nurses to understand these differences.

The term is often used only for a severe allergic reaction affecting the whole body.  A second term, the non-allergic form (Anaphylactoid), may be used to describe identical reactions that are not caused by allergy, involve other mechanisms in the body and are just as life threatening.

The clinical diagnosis and management are identical, whatever the cause.

Cold Induced Anaphylaxis Symptoms

Cold Induced Anaphylaxis Criteria

Anaphylaxis Synopsis:

Emergency Medical Services Agency Lessons Learned

Effects on the Body

Link to external websites for further research:

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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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