Avatar universal

Cold related hives and rattlesnake bite

This last summer I was bitten by a rattlesnake-no lasting damage-everything is working fine.

However, since that bite, anytime my skin comes in contact with cold it swells and itches.

Also-on two separate occasions I have been exposed to cold (once just air temp and the other by sitting on cold pavement).  On one occasion my hands swelled to the point it was hard to close them.  The other occasion, after getting off the pavement and into my house I broke out in hives on my bottom and then the hives spread across my body.  

In both instances the hives subsided in a couple of hours.

My guess is that I have somehow developed a cold allergy-but is it possibly related to the snake bite or is it just a coincidence?

Also-how long do cold allergies last?

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Avatar universal

From what you describe you seem to be having cold urticaria or cold hives. Are you allergic to any specific food substances or do you have allergic reactions otherwise?

You should consult your doctor for a confirmed diagnosis and a proper clinical evaluation. You should try and avoid exposure to cold and also antihistamine or antiallergic medications would definitely help you.

The cold allergies are known to last for variable periods of time in different individuals.

Let us know if you have any more doubts and also keep us posted on how you are doing.

Hope this helps.

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Avatar universal

Funny, but I think we have the same case.
Sometime in August last year, I had insect bites, and my skin bulged and became irritated coz of those.  My allergologist said I was allergic to the insect bites.
about 3 months after, I had urticaria wheals, first time I got those, and I was hospitalized.  Since then, my urticaria wheals have been appearing almost daily.
They're worse when I'm in airconditioned rooms, and after physical exercise.
Apparently, I now have cold urticaria and cholinergic urticaria.
The question still remains, why?  What caused these?
Could it be the insect bites?
Incidentally, prior to the insect bite allergy, I've been on Thyrax and Tetralysal.  I've been on them for 5 months before the urticaria wheals appeared.
Since Nov, I've been put off them, but the urticaria remains.
The dermapathologist I saw today told me that the meds I took before are still in my system and would be there for 6 to 12 months.  Until then, she said the urticaria probably won't go away yet, if they were caused by the medicines I took.
I'm really hoping it's only those meds that caused my urticaria.
Today, I'll be on Xyzal.  Hopefully, I'd respond to it better than the Cetirizine, Ketotifen   and Iterax I was taking before.  God bless!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal

There is no definite cause of the allergies or hypersensitivity and also no known cause of the cold allergies or cold urticaria.

Even the insect bites could be a cause of your hypersensitivity. Since when you are you on oral antihistamine medications or oral antiallergic medications? Do you have a relief in your symptoms with them?

Apply calamine lotion at the time of flare ups at the sites of the lesions.

What does your allergy specialist advise?

Let us know how you are doing and if you have any doubts.

Keep us posted.

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Avatar universal
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I too developed cold urticaria about 7 or 8 years ago and it's never gone away.  I don't know why it started, but I've had hayfever since I was at primary school and am allergic to penicillin. In my mid teenage years I developed asthma and my late teens I became allergic to Zinc Oxide (so no calamine lotion, beauty products or suntan lotions with that in for me).  I'm going to be 40 this year and I have to take anti-histamines every day now or else within a day of stopping I start itching on my hands like mad, then my head and legs start itching and then I come out in hives, mainly on my legs and bum and especially if it's even slightly cool.  

As I live in the UK the weather is never hot enough for me to go without the tablets.  I'd love to see whether things were different in a hot country with less airbourne pollen in the air, but I suspect that I'll still need antihistamines somehow.

I recently read that allergies may be the result of improved living conditions ironically enough.  In countries that have less sanitary conditions and gut parasites such a helminths (worms), then there seems to be less allergies occuring.  Research that has been undertaken has concluded that now our bodies do not have to defend against these invaiders, it seems kind of lost for what to defend against now, thus their attention has been drawn to other things that aren't really a threat, i.e. pollen, dust mites, mold spores, animal dander, air pollution, insect bites, foods and of course for us: temperature extremes.  So, unfortunately it looks like our stupid bodies can't evolutionarily keep up with modern lifestyle advances.  

See this: http://www.themedguru.com/20101114/newsfeature/maggots-leeches-and-worms-may-cure-severe-allergies-researchers-86141842.html

and: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/25017/

Researchers are however looking at whether there is anything the worms excrete that we can safely take to keep our immune systems happily by tricking it into thinking it's doing a good job chasing worms away again.  Otherwise we need to go and eat some worms...eek!

As for why you two have started getting this allergy after being bitten by things, I suspect, that it triggered your immune response system to get to work to try to protect you, but then has nothing else to do, so has turned to the cold as an invaider as mine has, so I don't think there's much that can be done now our bodies have gone on high alert unfortunately.

Anyone know where I can get some worm eggs from? LOL.
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Avatar universal
I was stung by a hornet 19 days ago.  My face swelled so bad my eye was closed, which I expected since previous stings had similar reactions. I had some heart "fluttering," mild diarheah and other symptoms during the next week or so.  I figured they were related in some way.  13 days after the sting, my hands itched after washing them in cold water.  14 days after, I held a cold bottle of water against my arm waiting to purchase it and a large itchy welt appeared.  I saw the doctor the next day and got the explanation that I had a large amount of histamine in my body from the sting and now my immune system had decided cold was the enemy.  She prescribed prednisone for 6 days and said if things didn't calm down in a few weeks she would refer me to a specialist.  She also prescribed an epipen, just in case.  I've done a bunch of reading lately and found that the histamine/adrenalin cycle was responsible for the exhaustion and other symptoms.  I am afraid that the cold urticaria won't go away.  And from reading some of these, I am afraid that I could be right.  I don't know how I am going to manage if that is the case.....
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Avatar universal

thanks for the reply.
I just saw this post again now... since my post way back in 2008!
Sadly, i still got cold urticaria.  My allergy tests showed that I have allergy to mosquito bites (the 1st trigger), dust mites, dog hair, shrimps, crabs, cold, heat, and some meds... :-(

I'm on daily meds - Xyzal in the morning, Iterax at night, and also currently on Montelukast.

My hives are worse right before and during my period.

I guess there must be a hormonal imbalance here too...

There were months before when I didn't have hives...
but now I'm happy when I don't have hives on weekends...

I'm just used to this already.  The hives are not as bad / as big as they were in 2008... so that's okay for now....

Think healthy!

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Avatar universal
I was bitten by an insect of unknown origin at the beginning of July 2013.  The bite area became infected and I was prescribed antibiotics for the infection.  A few weeks later I began getting hives pretty much with different triggers.  Some even at the bottom of my feet from standing in one place too long.  It got a little bitter with time but  I was told by my physician to take antihistamines for 30 days straight and I did so.  I have a slight improvement in that I mostly got the hives when I was either exercising or when I was in the cold.  Now it appears that I am still getting it when it's cold.  I believe I will need to continue to take the antihistamines long term to suppress the cold activated hives.  Similar to some of the other posts, I am allergic to penicillin and also historically have gotten huge welts from mosquito bites.  
The reason I am posting is this is to raise the awareness that these strange hives are occurring to others.  
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