A very common skin disorder, affecting millions across the globe, are hives. This results in large red welts all over the skin. Medically known as urticaria, hives can occur from exposure of the skin to certain stimulus such as severe cold or heat.
The welts that appear on the skin are usually itchy and the skin often swells up. They often vary in size, from small lesions to big patches. There are two major types of hives are evident due to change in temperature, Cold Urticaria and Heat Urticaria. Out of the two, the former is more prevalent.
When the body is exposed to severe cold, hives appear on the skin. This happens as a result of the dilation of capillaries. This results in the fluid to flow out into the epidermis. The aggravating and itchy condition, called Hives, appears on the skin as a result.
The histamine reaction to cold leads to a development of hives on the skin. It is a response to cold stimuli such as a drastic drop in temperature, exposure to cold air or water. In most cases, the exact causes of hives due to change in temperature are not known. Some other conditions can lead to the development of hives in a person.
Hives due to cold temperature can be diagnosed by performing a cold test. In the cold test, a piece of ice is held against the skin, ideally for 2-3 minutes. If a mark of red raised hives appears, the result is positive.
Treatment and Conditions
In case of cold hives, the most important thing is to keep the patient warm. Exposure to warm area immediately after exposure to cold temperature can help in bringing the hives under control. Some suggest that applying butter on the affected areas can prove beneficial for cold urticaria.
Medicines containing antihistamines can be used. These medicines include Benadryl, Zyrtec and others. Certain topical antihistamine creams can also be applied on the affected areas. However, antihistamines do not often work in hives that occur due to temperature change.
There are certain conditions which can lead to reactions in the skin, which are listed below:
- Sweat: Too much sweating on the skin can lead to the development of hives. Getting warm quickly by drying the skin will help reduce the symptoms.
- Cold Weather: Exposure to severe cold weather can lead to the growth of hives. It is advisable to avoid walks during cold weather.
- Swimming: Swimming in chlorinated water can often lead to reactions in the skin, resulting in hives. Taking an anti allergic medicine before entering the water is always a good idea.
- Air Conditioning: Suddenly entering an air conditioned area during a hot summer day can result in an allergic reaction, causing hives.
- Cold food or Drinks: Consumption of cold food or drink can often lead to swelling of the tongue. Sometimes it can be accompanied by itching as well.
- Body Changes: Menopause in women
Hives are a common skin disorder, which can occur due to numerous reasons and temperature change being one of them.
Always be prepared to cover up in extreme cold conditions or wear light clothing in hot cliamtes. Avoid overheating the body too much as this can play into the hands of Hives.