In winter, when severe cold waves and dry weather follow, there is a problem with normal metabolism, which increases the possibility of causing various physical abnormalities. This lowered metabolism causes various problems such as weakening of the immune system, lowering of body temperature and blood circulation, and stiffness of muscles. Cold urticaria is one of the cold diseases that occur frequently in winter, and refers to a disease in which red urticaria occurs when the skin is exposed to cold air or cold water and then the body temperature rises again. It is known as the most representative cold disease along with cold hands and feet, which feels excessive cold in the hands and feet.
The exact cause of cold urticaria, which is largely classified into primary acquired, secondary acquired, and reflex according to the type of symptoms, is not yet clear. It is estimated that when a person experiences a temperature change due to sudden exposure to cold, cold-related substances such as cold globulin or immunoglobulin E cause unnecessary immune responses. In addition to congenital factors such as heredity, acquired factors such as abnormal secretion of autonomic nervous system hormones, sequelae from bacterial infections such as sore throat and tonsillitis, sequelae of drugs such as anticonvulsants and anti-inflammatory drugs, and excessive mental stress are factors that cause the occurrence. is said to work. And in most cases, it is known that acquired factors have a greater influence on the occurrence than congenital factors, and it is reported that the incidence rate is high in children and younger age groups. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main symptoms that occur when cold urticaria occurs, as well as various information related to treatment and prevention.
Main symptoms of cold hives
As mentioned above, cold urticaria is classified into primary acquired, secondary acquired, and reflex cold urticaria according to the type of symptoms that occur, and is accompanied by various symptoms such as moles, itching, wheal, and erythema. In the case of primary acquired cases, when cold stimulation is applied to the skin, the itchiness lasts for 30 minutes to 1 hour after a few minutes. And if this stimulation spreads throughout the body, symptoms such as dizziness or low blood pressure may appear. In addition, secondary acquired cases are known to occur in about 5% of patients with cold urticaria. As the hives last for 24 hours, the skin turns red or purple. In addition, in the case of reflex cold, it is fine when a local area is exposed to cold air or water, but when the whole body is exposed, it has the characteristic of causing a wide range of urticaria.
These cold urticaria symptoms often appear when the body temperature rises to a warm temperature again after exposure to cold air, cold water, or ice, and is known to occur only in the exposed area. When the symptoms mentioned above become severe, they not only cause great inconvenience in life, but when they get worse, it can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath and systemic shock. It is known that cold urticaria naturally disappears and recovers after 6 to 9 years. However, if the symptoms continue, it can be a problem in living a normal life due to the related symptoms, so it is important to receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment through a visit.
Cold urticaria treatment and prevention
1. Diagnosis and treatment
Cold urticaria is diagnosed by putting cold ice in contact with the skin for about 3 minutes and then checking whether or not skin rashes and erythema occur when the temperature returns to its original temperature. As it is known that there is no definitive treatment for cold urticaria, management practices that minimize exposure to cold, the main cause of symptoms, are prioritized. And when symptoms appear in an acute form, in most cases, antihistamines can be taken to relieve the symptoms. Depending on the symptoms, treatment methods such as a combination of a high-dose antihistamine and several other antihistamines may be used. And if there is no response even with these methods, immunosuppressants such as adrenocortical hormones are prescribed for treatment. In addition, desensitization treatment is also performed to treat symptoms by artificially exposing them to low temperatures in a repetitive and gradual form.
2. Minimize exposure to strong cold
In order to prevent and relieve symptoms of cold hives, it is most important to avoid direct exposure to strong cold. When the strong cold continues, it is necessary to reduce going out and pay more attention to keeping warm when going out to maintain body temperature. It is recommended to minimize the exposed area by wearing gloves and a scarf, and it is important to maintain proper body temperature by wearing several thin layers of clothing rather than one thick one. And when exposed to strong cold, it is recommended to refrain from going into places that are suddenly hot.
3. Maintain proper indoor temperature and humidity
Maintaining proper indoor temperature and humidity is also an important management habit in preventing the occurrence of cold hives and improving symptoms. It is recommended to keep the room temperature at 18~20℃ and at the same time keep the humidity at 40% or higher. Also, as it is known that cold hives can be caused not only by cold temperatures and cold water, but also by excessive use of air conditioners, it is also recommended to be careful about excessive indoor cooling.
It is also important to keep the body from being dehydrated by eating a variety of vegetables and fruits and drinking enough water. It is also recommended that you take a bath in warm water for 5-10 minutes rather than taking a long bath in hot water, and it is recommended to take a shower once a day. Even in midsummer, taking a cold shower or swimming can cause symptoms, so it is recommended to use lukewarm water. In addition, having a habit of applying a sufficient amount of moisturizer after bathing or showering is an important management habit.