The first snow and fresh frosty air do not bring joy to everyone. In some people, they can cause blisters on the skin that resemble a plant burn. This is an allergy to cold or cold urticaria.
Such a reaction to low temperatures can appear not only due to snowflakes. Washing your face with cold water, drinking cold drinks, including ice, can also provoke an allergic reaction.
Cold urticaria symptoms
Cold urticaria symptoms occur almost immediately after contact with an allergen – water, ice, sleet. Most often, it affects young women between the ages of 18 and 25. Distinguish between hereditary cold urticaria (occurs less often) and primary (acquired) – is recorded more often. Some experts associate the appearance of primary urticaria with a recent infection, for example, with diseases caused by Epstein- Barr viruses , herpes virus; diseases of the autoimmune system, systemic vasculitis . But more often, such a reaction is a consequence of the individual characteristics of a person.
Signs of cold urticaria:
- itching, unpleasant burning sensation of the skin after contact with cold water, ice, snow; a reaction can also occur after going out into the frosty air;
- blisters, redness, and / or swelling of the skin; in some cases, Quincke’s edema .
Even the most casual walk without gloves can lead to cold allergies. Rashes and redness usually appear on the hands and face.
Usually, to clarify the diagnosis, the doctor conducts a special test – a provocative ice test. A small ice cube enclosed in a plastic bag is applied to the skin. The result is evaluated after 10 minutes. With a positive reaction, a blister or severe redness occurs at the application site. In addition, blood tests (general, biochemistry), studies to determine the level of serum immunoglobulins, fibrinogen protein, the detection of antibodies to the Epstein- Barr virus, hepatitis C and B, chlamydia are often prescribed .
To minimize the manifestations of cold urticaria, it is recommended:
- avoid hypothermia;
- take a warm shower, rinse your face with warm water;
- clothes should be made of cotton or soft wool, not synthetic !;
- in winter, be sure to wear a hat and a scarf;
- exclude cold food / drinks from the diet;
- exclude outdoor sports in the cold season;
- use protective creams and balms for the face, lips and hands (preferably from the segment of pharmacy cosmetics);
- use antihistamines during exacerbation of urticaria according to the scheme prescribed by the attending physician.