6 Signs You’re Actually Allergic To The Cold


The cold can be miserable. It can sting, it can dry out your skin, cause your feet to go numb, and your body to shiver. Many people dread the winter because of it and can’t wait to experience the warmth of the sun again.

Although all these factors can be extremely uncomfortable, some people have an even worse reaction to the cold — because they are allergic.

Experiencing a physical reaction to cold temperatures is called cold urticaria, and it results in severe bodily reactions when the skin is exposed to temperatures lower than 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms usually last less than a day, and in half of sufferers, the allergy diminishes after five or so years.

However, just because you experience discomfort in the cold doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical allergy. If you experience frequent, intense reactions to the cold and suspect you may have cold urticaria, consider these six signs that indicate you truly are allergic to the cold.

1. You Break Out Into Hives

If you experience itchy, red welts on areas of your skin that have been exposed to cold, you may be allergic to cool temperatures. This can also happen from jumping into icy water, even just briefly.

2. Your Reaction To The Cold Worsens When You Get Warm

If the redness in your skin doesn’t go away after returning to warm temperatures, it may be a sign that you have cold urticaria. This redness will appear more intense than a normal flush on the cheeks from walking in the brisk outdoors, and it will last for longer.

3. Your Hands Are Swollen

People who are allergic to the cold experience swelling in the deeper layers of the skin, which often occurs in the fingers and the toes. If your hands swell when holding on to a cold object, such as a cool drink, that could be an indicator of a severe reaction.

4. Swollen Lips And Mouth

Cold urticaria sufferers experience swelling around the lips and mouth after consuming a cold beverage. The reaction should become obvious within a few minutes of exposure to the food or drink.

5. You Get Dizzy

Experiencing lightheadedness or dizziness after stepping out of the cold, or even after dipping into cool waters on a warm night, can be a sign of an allergy.

6. It Happens Frequently

Sometimes unpleasant reactions the cold are natural, but if you experience frequent reactions to cold temperatures, it may not be a normal response. You can test for cold urticaria by placing an ice cube against your skin and looking for any swelling or redness.

If you suffer from an allergy to the cold, your best bet is to stay out of cold temperatures, cover your skin whenever possible, and take an antihistamine if you experience any alarming reactions. and as always, we recommend you consult a trained medical professional for diagnosis, advice and treatment.


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About the Author
Carina Wolff
Carina is a health and wellness journalist based in Los Angeles. When she’s not writing, doing yoga, or exploring mountains and beaches, she spends her time cooking and creating recipes for her healthy food blog, Kale Me Maybe. Carina is also an ongoing writer for Bustle, Reader's Digest, FabFitFun, and more.

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