While many may think that allergies naturally decline as the weather turns cooler, this is not necessarily the case. Cold urticaria, also known as cold-induced urticaria, refers to the range of allergic symptoms that are brought on by cold weather and temperatures, and while this may sound like a rare condition, it actually affects around 15% to 25% of Americans at some point in their lives.
The Symptoms of Cold Weather Allergies
There are several different symptoms when it comes to cold weather allergies, which is why they can sometimes be quite difficult to actually diagnose. Hives are a relatively common symptom, and are caused by the white blood cells releasing certain chemicals into the bloodstream as a response to the cold. Red skin is another common symptom, but unlike the way in which your skin gently flushes when coming into contact with the cold, those that suffer from cold urticaria will notice their skin turn a deep red, and stay like this for a while afterwards, even after coming out of the cold. While a topical antihistamine cream may help with this redness, it is unlikely to be able to counter the hives. Other symptoms to watch out for include swollen hands, dizziness and general fatigue.
Preventing and Treating Cold Weather Allergies
While prevention is always better than treatment, those that suffer from cool weather allergies are often not able to completely avoid the cold, especially during the winter months. Keeping your body well wrapped up will help, but it is likely that you will still experience some symptoms. Fortunately, antihistamines, the same sort that are used for other types of allergies, are able to help control the symptoms, but these should be taken before you expose your body to cold temperatures, rather than afterwards.
Boosting the Immune System
The immune system is a complex network that protects the body from invasive infectious organisms, and consists of everything from white blood cells to lymph vessels to the spleen to, of course, the skin, which is also the body’s largest organ. When it comes to allergies of all kinds, these are caused by the immune system jumping into overdrive to try to battle the initial trigger, leading to an allergic response. Taking steps to boost your immune system can go a long way in helping to deal with cold weather allergies, and there are many ways in which you can go about doing this. From eating a healthy and nutritious diet, including plenty of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir, to engaging in regular physical activity, taking care of your immune system will help to prevent your cool weather allergy symptoms from arising.
No matter the form that your allergy may take, cool weather allergies are never easy to deal with, especially if you live in a location that is known for its harsh winter climate. However, by taking antihistamines to deal with immediate symptoms, to building up your immune system to banish the allergies in the long term, you will be able to keep your symptoms under control.