I’m allergic to the cold.
It’s not just because I’m a summer baby that I hate the fall and winter. It’s more than just that. I’m allergic to the cold – literally. I don’t just say it to get out of going outside in the winter and avoid the slushy damp streets. I’m fully allergic to the point where I don’t just sneeze, sniffle and rub my eyes – I break out in rashes.
Have you ever had that foot itch at the bottom of your boot in the middle of winter and you can’t quite scratch it because that would require you to peel off layers and layers of clothing to reach it? That’s what it’s like except for my entire body. I get a tiny itch tingle on my legs and I just can’t help but rub the area a little bit. Half an hour later, I’m digging for gold through the waistband of my pants while onlookers gawk at me with half my arm down my pants scratching away furiously.
No, I don’t have crabs or any other kind of STI, I have a cold rash. If it’s perfectly acceptable to have a heat rash, isn’t it acceptable to have a cold rash? Apparently not, I’ve come across too many incredulous expressions when I have to explain that I’m allergic to the cold. And the worst part is that all of it is very much real. And the weirdest part – I only started developing this allergy within the past 2 years. I wasn’t born with, and before myself I never knew anyone else with the symptom. The funnier part is now that I’ve told people about it, I’ve had more people tell me that they too share this problem.
I can swear by it that at first you’ll think that you’re going crazy or that you’ve contracted some scary disease. It made me really afraid at first. I spent a solid month wondering what I did wrong to always be itchy. It doesn’t help either that most of my rashes congregate themselves around my thigh and groin area, so an STI could have been a big problem. Luckily for me it wasn’t.
My Allergies are Very Very Real
With a little bit of research online and the help of WebMD, I diagnosed myself with Cold Urticaria. I took myself to my doctor and he was just as surprised as I was. Well, more surprised by the fact that I had correctly diagnosed myself through the internet.
Basically what I have is a reactive skin disorder where exposure to the cold can develop rashes or itchy spots on the skin. I have the essential (acquired) form where my symptoms appear within 5-10 minutes of exposure, and they can last up to 1-2 hours after removing myself from the environment. Luckily for me they go away quickly. I just get left with some nasty scratches and sometimes some bruising if I’ve scratched too hard and broken some blood vessels.
Although I really do wish that my scratches could come out as pretty scripts instead of cat like marks.
Not much is known about this allergy (just like every other allergy), but I was recommended to take some anti-histamines to control any flare-ups. So how am I doing now? I manage. I do what I have to do to continue living with this strange afflication I have.
Vaseline is my Best Friend
Before I leave the house, I always make sure to slather lotion all over my limbs (arms and legs). For some odd reason this really helps control the scratchies. And it has to be done right before I leave as well. If I let it soak in for an hour before, it isn’t as effective for wearing off the itches.
I Drug Myself
On the rare occasion if I know that I’ll be outdoors in the cold for an extended period of time and vaseline isn’t going to cut it (it only works or about an hour max before the symptoms come back), then drugs are my best friend. Antihistamines, just to clarify. I make sure to take a non-drowsey pill so that I’m not fallig asleep all day and hope that the cold isn’t bad enough to make me scratch like crazy.
[quote_center]What’s the weirdest thing that you’re allergic to?[/quote_center]
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