While some of us Mainers may embrace the coldest part of the year, others may be wary of the constant cold. According to Weather-US.com, Maine's winter temperature highs sit around freezing, which is a bit uncomfortable for some people. While some people may say this discomfort makes them 'allergic' to the cold, we wondered, could people actually be allergic to the cold?

An Actual Allergy To Cold

According to the Mayo Clinic, Yep. It's called 'Cold urticaria' and is a skin reaction to cold exposure. People will have many different reactions but commonly will see welts or hives develop as a result of their skin being exposed to cold air.

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Symptoms can be mild or severe. Milder symptoms include temporary itchy welts (hives) after cold exposure, worsening as the skin warms, swelling of hands when holding cold objects, swelling of lips after eating or drinking cold foods.

Condition Triggers and Treatment

This doesn't occur in just cold weather. Another thing found with those with 'cold urticaria' is if you swim in cold water, you could develop low blood pressure that could lead to fainting or shock. Swelling of limbs or of torso, tongue, or throat.

This condition affects mostly young adults but that doesn't mean you can't be affected at a younger or older age.

Treatment for this condition is in the form of prevention, utilizing antihistamines and avoiding cold air and water.

Why does this happen?

it's unknown exactly why. Some theories include inherited traits others are virus or illness. Either way, a reaction triggers histamine and other chemicals to release into the bloodstream creating a whole-body or systemic reaction.

Risk Factors

  • Being a young adult
  • Underlying health conditions such as hepatitis or cancer
  • Family conditions

What To Do To Survive A Maine Winter

The moral of the story- yes, people can be allergic to the cold. Check in with your doctor if you suspect this condition for yourself, otherwise do what feels right for you- even if that means investing in a heating blanket and hunkering down for the coldest parts of the Maine winter.

For more information about this condition, check out the Mayo Clinic's page about 'Cold urticaria'.

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