Cold Allergy Definition, Reason, Diagnosis, Symptom, Treatment

Cold allergy is the body’s reaction when a person is exposed to cold air or after swimming in cold water. Check the complete info here.

A brief description

Cold allergy is the body’s reaction when a person is exposed to cold air or after swimming in cold water. Check the complete info here.


A cold allergy is an immune reaction, such as hives and sores on the skin, after a person touches very cold objects, is exposed to cold air, or after swimming in cold water.

Some people with cold allergies show mild symptoms. However, there are some cases that show severe symptoms to decreased consciousness.

Although quite disturbing, generally cold allergies in children will slowly decrease and disappear in a few years before entering adulthood.

Cold Allergy

Medical specialist  Skin and sex 
Symptom Red spots, swollen skin, lips and eyes, red, itchy and watery eyes, shortness of breath, runny nose 
Risk factors Sensitive skin, children, adolescents, chronic diseases, heredity, autoimmune, chickenpox
How to diagnose The complete interview, physical examination, elimination test  
Treatment Avoid exposure
Drug  Anti-allergic drugs  
Complications  Anaphylactic reaction 
When should you go to the doctor? There are symptoms of shortness of breath, symptoms are getting worse    


Basically, allergic reactions, including cold allergies, arise as an immune response to certain substances (allergens) that are considered harmful to the body.

In this case, the allergen in question is exposure to temperatures below normal, either by direct contact with solids, air, or liquids.

In addition, there are several risk factors that cause cold allergies: 

  • Sensitive skin
  • Children and teenagers
  • Descendants
  • Chronic disease
  • Autoimmune
  • viral infection


Like allergy symptoms in general, signs that arise when a cold allergy can be seen on the skin and in the respiratory system. Symptoms of a cold allergy include:

  • Red spots on the skin
  • Swollen skin, lips or eyes
  • Red, itchy and watery eyes
  • Shortness of breath or  asthma
  • Runny nose or rhinitis

Although very rare, allergies to cold exposure also have the potential to cause more severe symptoms such as anaphylactic shock. 

In anaphylactic shock, the resulting allergic reaction results in the dilation of blood vessels in the body.

This then causes the sufferer to lose consciousness and is potentially life-threatening.

Signs that a person is having an anaphylactic reaction are:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Very fast heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness due to a drastic drop in blood pressure


Cold allergy diagnosis can be considered when there are complaints after a person is exposed to objects or environments with low temperatures. 

At the initial examination, the doctor will conduct a complete and thorough medical interview regarding the symptoms and conditions experienced when exposed to the cold.

In addition, a physical examination will be carried out to determine the various symptoms of allergies experienced and supporting examinations. Below is the explanation.

  • Medical Interview 

The doctor will ask about the symptoms and the onset of symptoms as well as a history of previous illnesses. 

  • Physical examination 

The doctor will perform a physical examination by placing an ice cube on the skin for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes it was removed and red bumps appeared on the skin, then you most likely have a cold allergy. 

  • Elimination Test 

The diagnosis generally needs to be confirmed by an elimination test. The elimination test is done by avoiding exposure to objects and cold air that can trigger allergies.

If the complaints subside and the symptoms no longer appear, chances are that the person does have an allergy to cold temperatures.

  • Supporting investigation 

Investigations, such as urine or blood tests, are needed to make a diagnosis.


When it happens, the way to deal with cold allergies is to immediately protect yourself from exposure to cold objects or environments that trigger it.

If the allergic reaction is mild, people with allergies can generally take anti-allergic drugs (antihistamines) to relieve the following complaints: 

  • Cetirizine
  • Loratadine
  • Desloratadine

As for reducing itching on the skin, it can be recommended to use salicylic powder which gives a warm sensation to the skin. 

If the complaints do not subside with the administration of drugs, immediately consult a dermatologist and venereal specialist. 

For severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis should be treated immediately with epinephrine or adrenaline drugs to avoid fatal consequences. 

People at risk of severe allergies are advised to always carry epinephrine with them. Family or people in the immediate environment are also expected to know how to give it. 

A life-threatening anaphylactic reaction is the most serious effect or complication of a cold allergy.


To prevent an allergic reaction in someone who has a cold allergy, here are some things you can do:

  • Try to avoid cold objects or environments
  • If you have to be or travel to a cold place, wear warm, layered clothing. Don’t forget a hat or headgear as well as gloves and feet
  • Condition the room temperature is quite comfortable and not too cold
  • Avoid directing the air conditioner directly at the body
  • Avoid consuming cold food or drinks
  • Bring an antihistamine if you have to be in a cold area
  • If there is a medical action in the operating room, tell the medical staff about your cold allergy history

When to go to the doctor? 

If there are severe cold allergy symptoms, such as shortness of breath accompanied by worsening allergy complaints, immediately go to the nearest health facility for treatment. 

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