Cold urticaria

What causes cold urticaria?

In most cases of cold urticaria, the underlying cause is poorly understood. Although the symptoms are triggered by exposure of the skin to the cold (most often when the temperature is lower than 39 degrees Fahrenheit), it is unclear why this exposure leads to such a significant reaction.

Rarely, cold urticaria is associated with blood conditions or infectious disease such as cryoglobulinemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, lymphosarcoma, chicken pox, viral hepatitis, and mononucleosis.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How is cold urticaria diagnosed?

A diagnosis of cold urticaria is typically suspected based on the presence of characteristic signs and symptoms. Additional testing can then be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and determine if there are other associated conditions. This generally involves a cold simulation test in which a cold object (such as an ice cube) is applied against the skin of the forearm for 1-5 minutes. In people affected by cold urticaria, a distinct red and swollen rash will generally develop within minutes of exposure. A complete blood count and/or metabolic tests may also be performed to determine associated diseases.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is cold urticaria inherited?

Cold urticaria is not thought to be inherited. Most cases occur sporadically in people with no family history of the condition.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is the long-term outlook for people with cold urticaria?

The long-term outlook (prognosis) for people with cold urticaria varies. In approximately 50% of cases, the condition either completely resolves or drastically improves within five to six years. However, some people have the disorder for many years or even lifelong.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might cold urticaria be treated?

The treatment of cold urticaria generally consists of patient education, avoiding scenarios that may trigger a reaction (i.e. cold temperatures, cold water), and/or medications. Prophylactic treatment with high-dose antihistimines may be recommended when exposure to cold is expected and can not be avoided. Additionally, affected people are often told to carry an epinephrine autoinjector due to the increased risk of anaphylaxis.

Several other therapies have reportedly been used to treat cold urticaria with varying degrees of success. These include:

Last updated on 05-01-20

Connect with other users with Cold urticaria on the RareGuru app

Do you have information about a disease, disorder, or syndrome? Want to suggest a symptom?
Please send suggestions to RareGuru!

The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

People Using the App

Join the RareGuru Community

To connect, share, empower and heal today.

People Using the App