Cold allergy: how to understand what it is

Health Tips

As it turned out, the cold has not only a physical effect on the body, but also triggers biochemical reactions. In some people, during a cold snap, cryoglobulin proteins accumulate in the blood. The immune system perceives them as foreign – there is a release of histamine, as with a normal allergy. The mechanism of this unexpected reaction is not fully understood. And its manifestations in the form of a runny nose, conjunctivitis, dermatitis often mislead both doctors and patients – and force them to be treated for the wrong thing.

How many people suffer from cold?

In recent years, the number of people suffering from cold allergies has been constantly increasing. Doctors attribute this to the uncontrolled use of antibiotics, a high level of stress in everyday life, and a general decrease in immunity. In addition, there is a genetic predisposition to cold allergies.

Irina Zalem, general practitioner, Ph.D.

If going outside, you not only get cold, but also itch, there is reason to think: maybe you are just allergic to cold?

Watch your hands

All people in the cold usually have a pink nose and cheeks, and if you are not dressed for the season, the skin on your arms and legs may also turn red. This is how the vessels react to a sharp drop in temperature, but in the heat everything quickly returns to normal.

With a cold allergy, parts of the body, especially open ones, not only turn red, but also begin to itch and even swell. Moreover, in heat, these reactions do not pass, but only intensify. If in the cold the skin on the hands begins to dry and crack, as with eczema, this reaction can also be interpreted as an allergic reaction.

Focus on the nose

You went out into the cold – and immediately dripped from your nose, watery eyes? This is normal – the body’s natural physiological reaction to temperature changes. After a few minutes, you will stop sniffing and wiping your eyes with a handkerchief. But if a runny nose accompanies you all the way until you get home, there is a chance that you have become a victim of a cold allergy.

Just a cold?

In winter in Russia, let’s be honest, there is always a risk of overcooling and getting a common cold. But the common cold goes away within a week. And if you scratch and sneeze before the appearance of snowdrops, then everything is not so simple. It is important not to go to extremes and, recognizing the existence of a cold allergy, do not blame everything on it.

In some cases, reactions such as weakness, chills, and even fever are possible. However, coughing in the cold does not apply to allergic manifestations, as a rule, it is caused by broncho-obstructive syndrome.

Irina Zalem, general practitioner, Ph.D.

Check your stomach

Quite often, skin reactions that we take for an allergy to cold occur in response to disturbances in the digestive system. The logical question is “why in winter?” has an equally logical answer: because in winter most of us have a great change in diet – less fruit and fiber, more meat, fats and sweets.

Simple allergy test

Fortunately, no complicated tests are required to diagnose cold allergies.

There is a very simple method that will help determine whether such reactions are really associated with an allergy to cold. It is enough to touch the skin with a piece of ice – in case of a cold allergy, redness will appear in this place almost immediately.

Irina Zalem, general practitioner, Ph.D.

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