What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Cold?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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An allergic reaction to cold occurs when a person's immune system reacts negatively to a drop in temperature. Hives are the most common signs of this type of allergic reaction, and these may itch or burn. People with cold allergies may also experience swelling in the affected area. Rarely, severe reactions can include hypotension and fainting. People with this type of allergy should attempt to stay away from cold things as much as possible.

A cold allergy is known medically as cold urticaria. It is also sometimes referred to as cold hives, because of the red rashes that occur after exposure to the cold. Signs of an allergic reaction to cold may begin to show as soon as a person is exposed to something cold, but they generally get worse as the exposed area is warmed up.

One of the most common signs of an allergic reaction to cold is hives. These red, raised welts typically only occur on the area of the body that was exposed to cold. If a person touched something cold with his hand, for example, the hives will usually only appear on that hand. Swimming in cold water, however, could result in hives all over the body.


Some people who experience an allergic reaction to cold experience pain with these hives. They may feel a burning sensation in the affected area, for example. These hives will also usually itch as well.

Swelling is another common sign of an allergic reaction to cold. Usually, this swelling will only affect the area that was exposed to cold. Someone who touched something cold with his hand, for instance, will usually experience swelling in his hand. In more severe allergic reactions, however, this swelling may affect the entire arm.

If a cold allergy sufferer drinks or eats something cold, his lips or tongue may swell, along with his throat. During a severe allergic reaction to cold, the throat can possibly swell enough to compress a person's airways. This can result in breathing difficulties, which may end up being fatal.

Low blood pressure can also occur during an allergic reaction to cold. This is known medically as hypotension. This sudden drop in blood pressure may lead to dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, it could lead to shock or even death.

One of the best ways to avoid cold allergy symptoms is to simply avoid things that are cold. This includes cold air, food, and water. Antihistamines may also help relieve the symptoms of an allergic reaction to cold.



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