How is cold urticaria different from other types of hives?
Cold urticaria is a type of chronic inducible urticaria and occurs when a rash appears shortly after the skin has been exposed to cold (e.g. cold weather or swimming in cold water).1
The hives look and feel like the hives that occur in other forms of urticaria. They are red and itchy, can be accompanied by swelling and usually disappear within 1-2 hours.1
It’s not known what causes cold urticaria. It may be associated with an underlying blood condition or infectious disease, but this is rare. Management of this type of urticaria involves trying to avoid cold as much as possible and taking medication to help prevent and relieve symptoms.
Cold-induced urticaria after removal of an ice cube.Image used with permission from DermNet NZ
Cold urticaria. Image used with permission from DermNet NZ
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- Bernstein JA et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2014; 133:1270-1277.skin conditions. 2016. [Nhs.uk] (accessed 7 Feb 2018).