Cold Induced Hives

Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:42am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I need some help with cold induced hives. My son has had hives 3 times in the last 5 days, first time was after having an ice pack on his cheek (he had fallen and bruised his cheek) was a huge hive, second time was after playing outside on a cold windy huge and many small hives...third was after holding a container of food (safe) that was out of the fridge..both hands were covered in small hives. I tested him earlier today but rubbing his inner forearm with an ice cube...hives surfaced in less then a minute.

Anyone dealing with this? Do I need to make an appointment with his allergist? Can it become serious?

I should mention that I am 100% certain that the hives are not food related.



Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 9:38am
starlight's picture
Joined: 01/16/2004 - 09:00

This used to happen to me too. It's called cold urticaria, you should look it up on the web and there's also a few topics on it here if you use the search feature. I personally outgrew it, but some people have it bad enough that they can't take a shower without getting hives.
Here's a couple links:

Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:22am
JaneyL's picture
Joined: 06/11/1999 - 09:00

My mother takes Zyrtec daily for this problem. She gets hives in the middle of the summer after getting out of the pool especially if there is a breeze. She has had this her whole life.

Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 11:43am
cgroth's picture
Joined: 01/25/2006 - 09:00

I often had cold induced hives on my legs when I swam in cold water or played outside in the snow. They always went away when I warmed up. It was more bothersome with the itching than something that I worried about.

Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 11:51am
AmyR's picture
Joined: 09/26/2000 - 09:00

We were on a family cruise a few years ago and DS was in the swimming pool and when he came out, he had hives on his shoulders and back. Being in the middle of the ocean, I got pretty nervous, thinking it was something he ate. Then I heard everyone complaining about how cold the pool was and realized that is what the hives were from. I think we gave him some benedryl and he was fine.

Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:44pm
LisaM's picture
Joined: 11/04/2005 - 09:00

I've read that it can be pretty serious--people with cold urticaria are advised to avoid swimming in cold water (to prevent anaphylaxis).
I used to get hives from playing in the snow and small hives occasionally from prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures, but my reactions were mild.

Posted on: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:21pm
Flounder's picture
Joined: 09/02/2006 - 09:00

I actually have been prescribed an epi-pen and am supposed to take Reactine daily for this. It can get very serious. FYI I will also get hives/swelling from heat and exercise in addition to the cold but cold is worst. These reactions are anaphylactoid in nature but otherwise similar to my reaction to wasps/stinging insects.
What you need to be aware of is standard first aid treatment of anaphylaxis calls for the application of an ice pack to the airway to reduce swelling. So you want to make sure to avoid this during a food allergy reaction.
You also have to be careful with ice cream and popsicles etc... My lips (and sometimes even my tongue) will swell and my whole throat will sort of spasm a little and I end up coughing uncontrollably.
I definitely think it is worth mentioning to the allergist.

Posted on: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 12:11am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Sorry, long, but a current issue with us.
We had an incident with cold urticaria last winter with my oldest son (Not PA, but asthma, many environ. allergies.)
He was outside, playing in very cold, wet snow. It was a day when the kids should have stayed indoors, it was about 10 degress out with the windchill. The snow was still sticky wet, snowman stuff, but the weather was changing fast, temps. dropping. But the kids were crazy and I sent them out.
Anyway, I look outside and his face is Wrong, and he is staggering. I call him inside and his face looked like he had been battered. 2 huge swells coming together on one cheek, another huge (3") hive on the other. Had it been PA DS, the epipen would have been out straight to work!
Also, he was acting "drugged", slurry and slow.
Still had no idea that it could have been cold induced, I'm thinking: what did he eat, what did he touch, what was different about today, is he allegic now?
I treated for frostbite (I'm originally from Northern Michigan, that stuff happens)
and also gave Benadryl. 1 hour later, all fine, no indication. wish I had taken a pic!
Called the allergist, brought him in for an "ice cube test". He passed the test, but allergist says it definately was cold urticaria, and 10% who pass test still react under certain conditions, and it was colder than an ice cube that day. So now we take precautions.
Here's a link to a study he did:
Definately call the allergist!!!
Neil's Mom

Posted on: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 12:55am
LuvMyKids's picture
Joined: 06/26/2005 - 09:00

My daugter had it. She would get hives at the pool unless the water was heated. She would even get it in the shower sometimes. She did outgrow it.

Posted on: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 2:15am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks for the DS's eye was swollen (almost closed) after being outside for less then 5 minutes...I tried to make an appointment with his family doctor but she is booked until late next week...and he can't see the allergist without her re-referring him...So I guess we are off the a walk-in clinic.

Posted on: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 3:48am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Yes I have seen this in my children a few times. Once my son broke out into hives while eating ice cream and I was thisclose to injecting him with the epi pen, but didn't since his eyes didn't swell, didn't complain of an itchness or heat in his throat etc. We watched him all night to see if anything else appeared and it didn't.
The next day he still had them and I contacted his allergist. She told me that if they were still there after 24 hrs that this is most likely a viral outbreak of hives from the cold that I thought that he was over the week before. He had them on and off for 3-4 days.
His sister has had the same type of reaction at the tail end of a cold. She will break out into mystery hives for a few days and they will appear and disappear during that time.
I also had a strange outbreak of hives during the first trimester of my pregancy with my daughter. They would just come and go for a few days and then fade away.
A little benedryl will help and I used the topical meds sometimes too since bendryl does the opposite of what it does to most people to my kids. Instead of making them sleepy they go spastic and spin like tops around the house.


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