What are Cold Hives?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2019
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Cold hives are hives that are caused by cold objects or temperatures. Hives are characterized by raised, red welts that result from an allergic reaction to various external. A reaction within the body to cold will cause the afflicted person to experience red rashes and welts that can be severely itchy. Cold hives can be a deadly medical condition because the blood pressure within the body can drop drastically, causing dizziness and fainting. When the welts appear, cold water, and cold areas and objects, need to be avoided at all costs.

The causes for cold rashes begin with the immune system. Some type of variable will occur which the body will take as a threat, causing the cold hives to appear. The immune system is usually triggered in this way while swimming, such as in lakes or rivers, but the weather can also become a factor. Extremely cold objects, such as ice cubes or frozen meat, have also been linked to triggering the fighting antibodies within the immune system. The hives in turn will cause the blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels, causing the body to go into shock.


The most common symptoms of cold hives will appear within minutes after the trigger. Red welts can appear, as well as red rashes that itch uncontrollably. In cases where the hives are slightly worse, the hands, lips, and body may swell as the immune system tries to fight the intrusion. It is also possible for the heart rate to increase due to the extreme feelings of cold. Along with these symptoms, the blood pressure can rapidly drop dramatically, depending upon whether the trigger is still present or not. In severe causes, the throat and tongue can also swell, which will make breathing difficult, if not impossible.

There are some treatments that help eliminate cold hives. The first step is to try and find the specific triggers that cause the outbreaks, and then try to avoid them. This is sometimes very hard to do, and in many cases, people with these hives will never be able to isolate the trigger or triggers. In these instances, various treatment plans can be used that involve medical care, creams, and even various pills in some cases. Some of these treatments work for some people, but since everyone is different, tests must be done to isolate and treat the cold hives effectively.



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