How to

9 February 2017

Allergic to the Cold - Cold Urticaria

Most aren’t a fan of the cold, and we do what we can with warm clothing and central heating to avoid feeling too cold in the winter months. Some have to be more careful than others however. Cold Urticaria, a rare condition which affects one in 100,000 people, is a condition which is basically being allergic to cold temperatures.

Those with cold urticaria experience red skin rashes and hives, which are often itchy and painful, when exposed to temperatures below 4°C (that’s 39°F), however some are affected by warmer temperatures.

According to the Mayo Clinic, severe reactions can lead to very low blood pressure, fainting, shock and in the worst cases; the throat and tongue can swell leading to difficulty in breathing, which could be fatal.

It’s not just being in cold air or water, eating cold foods or drinking cold drinks can also trigger bad reactions. And with the condition most common in children and young-adults, that treat of an ice-lolly in the summer months is sadly a no-no.

Most cases are treated with antihistamines and simply avoiding cold air and water. As reported by the Daily Mail, one UK family from Birmingham went to extreme lengths to avoid their 10 year old son Finley Mitchell, suffering with the condition as badly as he did. How extreme I hear you ask? Immigrating to Australia. Moving down-under to the other side of the world, with its hotter climate and picture-perfect lifestyle, has worked wonders for Finley and his family.

The boy’s mother, Rebecca Mitchell, says, “He was on constant medication in the UK; whereas now we’re in Australia he is drug free, it’s amazing.”

“I knew then that moving away was the best thing for us, we were told that if Finley was still suffering by the time he turned 7, it was likely he would have hives forever.” Mrs Mitchell adds.

Since moving sunny Queensland six months ago, the family haven’t looked back, and 10 year old Finley is free to enjoy life without the worry of swelling up in painful hives.

If you experience a red rash when exposed to the cold, even if the symptoms are minor, seek medical advice. Despite being an uncommon condition, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.

Plus you could have an excuse to move to Australia!

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.