Table of contents:
- Cold allergy symptoms
- How to confirm the diagnosis
- Possible causes
- How the treatment is done
- Possible complications
Cold allergy, scientifically called cold urticaria, is a type of allergic reaction that occurs immediately after skin contact with some cold object, leading to symptoms such as red patches on the skin, itching, swelling and pain in extremities, such as fingers and toes.
Generally, the symptoms of cold allergy are located in the region of the skin that has had contact with the object or cold water, but in some cases, such as swimming in cold water, symptoms can appear throughout the body, being a situation that requires immediate medical attention, as it leads to a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness or even anaphylactic shock.
Allergy to cold is more common in young adults and women, and in most cases, dermatologist-oriented treatment includes the use of anti-allergic medication, in addition to measures to avoid skin contact or exposure to cold or cold. temperatures, for example.
Cold allergy symptoms
The symptoms of cold allergy are:
- Red patches or blisters on the skin;
- Intense itching;
- Burning sensation;
- Swelling of the skin;
- Swelling of the lips when drinking drinks or cold foods;
- Abdominal pain or diarrhea;
These symptoms can appear about 5 to 10 minutes after skin contact with water, objects or cold wind, for example, and remain for about 2 hours.
In some cases, such as swimming in cold water, symptoms can occur throughout the body, resulting in symptoms such as a drop in blood pressure, fainting, heart palpitations, or even anaphylactic shock, which can make breathing difficult and put life at risk, requiring immediate medical attention.Know how to identify the symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of cold allergy is made by the dermatologist or general practitioner, through the evaluation of symptoms, he alth history and life habits and physical evaluation of the skin in the affected region.
Also, the doctor may perform a test by placing an ice cube in contact with the skin of the forearm for about 5 minutes, and watch for symptoms to appear, which usually occur within 10 to 30 minutes after removal. the ice.
In some cases, the doctor may order blood tests to rule out other conditions such as chronic induced urticaria, chronic spontaneous urticaria, dermographism or atopic dermatitis.
What is the difference between cold allergy and perniosis?
A cold allergy occurs immediately, about 5 to 10 minutes, after skin contact of any part of the body with surfaces, objects, or cold water, or exposure of the skin to low temperatures, and is caused by the release of of substances, such as histamine, interleukin and leukotrienes, leading to the appearance of symptoms located in the area of the skin that has had contact with the cold and, usually, they improve in about 2 hours.In some cases, like entering cold water, it can cause anaphylactic shock.
Perniosis, also known as erythema pernio, occurs due to constant or prolonged exposure to cold environments, which leads to a narrowing of blood vessels in the extremities, such as hands, feet, nose or ears, for example., which reduces the oxygenation of these areas and causes tissue inflammation.
The exact cause of cold allergy is not yet fully understood, however, it is related to the release of substances in the body, such as histamine, interleukin and leukotrienes, when the skin has contact with the cold, leading to the appearance of of symptoms.
Some factors seem to increase the risk of developing cold allergy, such as:
- Family history of cold allergy;
- Direct skin contact with objects or cold water;
- Exposure of the skin to low temperatures or cold wind;
- Consumption of beverages or cold foods;
- Viral infections, such as mononucleosis, hepatitis or HIV;
- Bacterial infections, such as Helicobacter pylori, Borrelia burgdorferi, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, or Treponema pallidum;
- Parasitic infections, such as toxoplasmosis or giardiasis;
- Lymphoproliferative disorders, such as myeloma or Waldenström's macroglobulinemia.
Furthermore, some autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, autoimmune thyroiditis or scleroderma, for example, appear to increase the risk of developing cold allergy.
How the treatment is done
The treatment of cold allergy should be guided by the dermatologist, who may indicate:
1. Avoid exposure to cold
One of the most important measures in the treatment of cold allergy is to avoid exposure to low temperatures and skin contact with cold objects or cold water, and consumption of cold foods or drinks
Thus, it can be recommended by the doctor, avoid sports in cold water, in addition to bathing in the pool, waterfall or sea, in addition to not bathing in cold water.
Also, for people who live or work in cold environments, or for people who are going to travel to cold places, it is important to keep the body warm by using suitable warm clothes, gloves, boots, hats and heating socks, for example.
2. Use of antihistamines
The use of antihistamine drugs, such as loratadine, desloratadine, fexofenadine or cetirizine, for example, may be indicated by the dermatologist in order to avoid the appearance of symptoms and complications, such as airway blockage and, consequently, asphyxia and anaphylactic shock, for example.
The use of these medicines must be recommended by the doctor and they are normally consumed in higher doses than normal.
Furthermore, when cold allergy arises due to other diseases, the doctor should recommend the most appropriate treatment according to its cause.
3. Adrenaline Pen
In cases where cold allergy is accompanied by severe symptoms, such as swelling of the tongue or lips or difficulty breathing, for example, the doctor may recommend using an adrenaline (epinephrine) pen so that be injected immediately into the person as soon as these symptoms appear, as they can be life-threatening.
The adrenaline pen is indicated by the doctor for people at high risk of having a severe allergic reaction, and they should have the doctor's guidance for the warning signs and severity that may arise, as well as the way to use this remedy. After using the epinephrine pen, it is very important to go to the hospital immediately or consult the doctor who prescribed its use.Learn how to apply the adrenaline pen.
Adrenaline in the form of an injection is also used in hospitals with medical indication and applied by nurses in emergency situations caused by cold allergy to treat swelling in the mouth, tongue or throat and difficulty breathing.
The main complication of cold allergy is anaphylactic shock which can be perceived through symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face, loss of consciousness or fainting.
This type of reaction is serious and can be life-threatening. Therefore, in these cases, immediate medical attention or the nearest emergency room should be sought. See what first aid for anaphylactic shock should be like.