Ever heard of cold urticaria? Well, neither had I until I was diagnosed in 2010.
When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2009, I began noticing that my hands would swell whenever I spent time outside in cold temperatures. When it was hot, I would break out in hives whenever I sweat or when the AC blew on me.
Even if I drank something cold (my biggest craving was ice cold water 24/7) I could feel my throat tightening.
At first, everyone (including myself) thought I was nuts.
It took me a while to piece everything together. Most of my symptoms could be somewhat explained by pregnancy: swollen hands, itchy skin, strange rashes.
It wasn’t until my daughter was 3 months old, and my symptoms were still persisting, that I started Googling. I know, I know…NEVER Google your own symptoms…you’ll always find that you’re “dying”, but in this instance, it proved to be helpful.
I Googled “hives + cold temperatures” and BAM! I found cold urticaria. Unfortunately, a name was really about all I found. No one really knows what causes cold urticaria, some say it’s permanent, others say it lasts 4-6 years, one can be born with it or acquire it for no known reason, pregnancy can bring it on, as well as, bee stings or fire ant bites (did, I mention that I stepped in a bed of fire ants while pregnant? Yup!), the list goes on and on.
I scheduled an appointment with a local allergy specialist to see is she could offer me any more information. Since cold urticaria is so rare, I was met with a lot of skepticism by the doctor. She agreed to perform a “highly scientific” 3 minute ice test where a glass filled with ice water was placed on my forearm for 3 minutes, then the welt that arose was measured. This test was followed by a 1 minute test. Here were my results:
The welts or hives on my forearm were so large that nurses from all over the building stopped by to take pictures of the freak show with their phones. I was FAMOUS!
After the “freak show”, I was sent for a lot of blood work that confirmed I was highly allergic to fire ants and indeed had cold urticaria.
As far as “treatment” goes, I was given a prescription for a mild antihistamine that would not affect breastfeeding…much…and an epinephrin pen for emergencies.
Living in a mild climate, I was able to manage my symptoms well enough not to have to rely on an antihistamine every day, rather I carried the bottle in my purse and used it as a treatment rather than prevention. Fortunately, I have yet to need the epi pens.
About 2 years later I became pregnant with my second child. I must admit, I was a bit hopeful that since my cold urticaria surfaced during my 1st pregnancy that it might disappear during a 2nd pregnancy. Although I was not symptom free during my pregnancy, my symptoms were much less severe…hardly noticeable.
For me, cold urticaria seems to be linked to my hormones. After pregnancy, my symptoms returned, but they were still lessened. I stopped taking the antihistamines and replaced them with Essante Bee Natural tabs about 4 months ago.
Bee Natural Tabs are 100% certified Toxic Free and include a wide spectrum of vital nutrients including pollen, royal jelly, honey, thousands of enzymes and coenzymes, vitamins, minerals, and hormones! Human consumption of bee pollen and royal jelly has been praised throughout history and medical and wellness practitioners, including Hippocrates and Pythagoras, have long prescribed it for its healing properties.
Bee Natural Tabs have freed me from antihistamines (and fear of their effects on my milk supply) and lessened my symptoms making daily activities in the cold safer and more comfortable.
Cold urticaria has received much more attention in the media over the last few years. My hope is that more people who suffer from this condition unidentified will recognize their symptoms, find answers, and know that they are not “crazy” or alone in their struggle.
Do you or someone you know suffers with cold urticaria? Please share your story in the comments section below.
**Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. I am an executive with Essante Organics and only receive compensation through their outlined system (sales, bonuses, commissions, etc).
***The FDA has not evaluated these statements. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.