Recently, a man from the US state of Colorado has been hospitalized due to experiencing an anaphylactic shock, which is a severe form of an allergic reaction, after exposure to cold air. According to the findings of the study, which appear in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, the thirty-four-year-old man was found with hives all over his body on the floor by his family and rushed to a hospital immediately.
Prior to being taken for medical attention, the patient had simply gone to take a hot shower. He has had no potentially allergic-foods or exposure to any other form of allergens. The medical history of the man shows that he was severely sensitive to cold temperatures.
As soon as his family took him to the hospital, he was shifted to the emergency room where the doctors discovered that he was suffering from anaphylactic shock, which is characterized by sweating, very low blood pressure, and fast heartbeat.
In many cases, a reaction as severe as this is life-threatening and results in death if medical help is not received at the right time. This is because the immune system reaction to the allergen is so strong that the blood pressure drops to a dangerous degree, thereby leading to a lack of oxygen in the body.
Usually, an anaphylactic shock occurs as a result of an insect sting or even exposure to a food allergen. However, in the case of the Colorado man, the shock had occurred due to the chilly air and cold temperature.
After ruling out the trigger to the allergic reaction, it was also discovered that it was not the first time he had had a reaction to a colder temperature. According to the man’s family, he had experienced allergic reactions and hives before though they were mild and nowhere as dangerous.
The reactions to the cold had started after he had moved from the comparatively much warmer and tropical region of Micronesia to Colorado, which is known for its freezing temperatures and harsh winters.
After assessing the medical history, the doctors confirmed that the man had a rare health condition known as cold urticaria and the previous reactions were also signs of this issue by doing the ‘ice cube test’. In this test, an ice cube is placed on a person’s skin for some time to check for any kind of reaction.
Hence, the recent allergic reaction was an extreme form of cold urticaria, which is also very rare. In the majority of the cases, people develop mild rashes which disappear without any treatment within a few hours after being exposed.
Prior to the case of the man, there has been only one reported case of anaphylactic shock due to cold urticaria, which is of a nine-year-old boy who was taken to the hospital after he had attempted to swim in the cold sea. The case is reported in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics.
For people with cold urticaria or any other form of severe allergy, doctors recommend trying to avoid the trigger and carrying an epinephrine pen, which can allow them to relieve an attack when immediate medical help is not available.