The main principles of treatment of this disease are the cessation of contact with an irritating physical factor, the use of protective agents, taking antihistamines, local treatment.
- Termination of contact with cold. It is necessary to warm the affected skin (go into a warm room, wear gloves, protect your face with a scarf, scarf, hat), stop swimming in an open pond or pool and wipe dry. It is useful to drink a cup of hot tea.
- Antihistamines. Allow to reduce the appearance of dermatitis, urticaria: redness, itching, swelling. Facilitate the course of vasomotor rhinitis, conjunctivitis.
- Local treatment. Involves the use of ointments and creams with anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory action. With a pronounced exacerbation, short-term use of ointments with glucocorticosteroids is possible.
Cold allergy is a pseudo- allergic reaction that occurs when the body is exposed to low temperatures and is characterized by the development of an inflammatory process on the skin and mucous membranes with an acute or chronic course. It is observed mainly in the autumn-winter period with frequent contact with cold water in open reservoirs and in everyday life, when cleaning the premises, drinking ice water and soft drinks inside, and ice cream. Clinical symptoms include manifestations of urticaria, dermatitis, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, bronchial asthma. According to statistics, cold allergy occurs in 10-20% of the population, women and children are more likely to suffer.
Causes of cold allergies
The true cause of the pathology is not clear.
The main risk factors are:
- Hereditary predisposition. Cold allergy is more common in individuals with a hereditary predisposition to allergic diseases, as well as in the presence of relatives sensitivity to the effects of cold.
- Vascular disorders. Disruption of microcirculation, deterioration of blood circulation in the skin and subcutaneous tissue (on the face, in the distal parts of the upper and lower extremities) in vegetative-vascular dystonia, Raynaud’s disease, overweight and obesity.
- Chronic diseases. Chronic inflammatory process in the digestive tract (gastroduodenitis, enterocolitis), upper respiratory tract (sinusitis, tonsillitis).
- Endocrine disorders. Violations of the thyroid gland, adrenal glands.
- Sensitive skin. Gentle sensitive skin, dry skin, the presence of associated diseases (neurodermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, etc.).
- Frequent contact with cold. Long stay in cold weather with open parts of the body (face, hands), swimming in an open pond, visiting the pool with low resistance to low temperatures, contact with cold water in everyday life (cleaning of rooms, washing dishes)
Pathogenesis of cold allergies
The basis of the pathological process during cold allergy is a pseudo-allergic reaction, which is triggered by the irritating effect of cold on mast cells and occurs as a result of a massive release of histamine.
Inflammatory mediators circulating in the vessels increase the permeability of the vascular wall, cause local and widespread swelling of the skin and mucous membranes, and have a damaging effect on the cells.
The inflammatory process can be enhanced with the additional intake of products containing histamine, as well as substances that stimulate its release by mast cells.
Symptoms of cold allergy
The disease is characterized by lesions of the skin on exposed parts of the body (face, hands), irritation of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract (nasal passages, pharynx, trachea and bronchi), eyes, less often – the gastrointestinal tract.
- Cold urticaria. On the skin of the face, including on the eyelids, upper lip, as well as on other open areas of the body, there is hyperemia, swelling, rash on the type of urticaria (multiple itchy blisters, erythema), pronounced pruritus.
- Contact dermatitis. Redness and swelling in a limited area after contact with the cold factor. After 1-2 days, small bubbles are formed, filled with serous fluid. After opening the bubbles, the formation of erosions is observed, then – covering them with a scab and scarring. If contact dermatitis becomes chronic, congestive erythema develops, often accompanied by infiltration, maceration of the skin. There are long-term non-healing cracks, the skin is peeling off.
- Meteorological cheilitis. Redness, dryness, peeling, feeling of tightness appear on the red border of the lips. Meteorological cheilitis patients often lick their lips to prevent discomfort.
- The defeat of the mucous membranes. Conjunctivitis (redness, tearing, burning), vasomotor rhinitis (rhinorrhea, sneezing), bronchospasm (feeling of lack of air, suffocation) may occur.
Diagnosis of cold allergies
The diagnosis of cold allergy involves a thorough history taking and identifying the association of symptoms that appear after cold exposure. Clinical examination of a patient by a dermatologist, allergist-immunologist, otolaryngologist and other specialists is recommended.
To exclude the true allergy, standard laboratory tests used in practical allergology are conducted. It has a diagnostic cold test, during which a piece of ice is placed on the skin of the upper limb for 1-3 minutes. The allergy test is considered positive when typical local clinical symptoms of cold allergy appear (hyperemia, swelling, blistering, etc.).
Differential diagnosis is carried out with other skin diseases (simple contact and seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, ringworms, herpes simplex) and allergic reactions (with atopic dermatitis, drug and food allergies, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, bronchial asthma), and some infectious diseases.
Forecast and prevention of cold allergies
The prognosis of the disease in terms of recovery is favorable. For the prevention of cold allergies and prevention of exacerbations, it is necessary to carry out certain preventive measures.
Among them – the use of protective clothing and special winter cosmetics before going out in cool weather, the use of warm water for domestic purposes, the limitation of time spent on the street in the autumn and winter, the hardening of the body.