A man almost died after stepping out of a hot shower into cold air, due to a rare allergy to cold temperatures.
The 34-year-old from Colorado was found by his family on the floor of his shower, struggling to breathe.
The man’s skin was covered in hives, and his family told paramedics that he had a history of being “allergic” to cold weather, Live Science reported.
In this case, it triggered a potentially deadly whole-body allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Doctors diagnosed him with the help of an ice cube test, where an ice cube is applied to the skin for five minutes to see if there’s a reaction.
The man had recently moved from Micronesia to Colorado, which has a much colder climate.
“Cold urticaria” can be triggered by cold water, or in rare cases cold drinks.
The British Association of Dermatologists says the condition “is triggered by exposure to cold, including rain, wind and cold water, causing itchy weals in chilled areas.
“Swimming in cold water may cause extensive wealing with a risk of fainting and should be avoided.”
The patient was treated with the stimulant epinephrine, and made a full recovery.
The researchers wrote in the Journal of Emergency Medicine: “He required two doses of intramuscular epinephrine and was ultimately started on an epinephrine infusion.
“He was admitted to the intensive care unit for anaphylaxis monitoring and was found to have a positive ice cube test, reinforcing the suspected diagnosis.”
America’s Mayo Clinic says symptoms of the condition vary, and that patients should consult a doctor.
“For some people with this condition, swimming in cold water could lead to very low blood pressure, fainting or shock,” it says.
“Cold urticaria occurs most frequently in young adults. If you think you have this condition, consult your doctor. Treatment usually includes preventive steps such as taking antihistamines and avoiding cold air and water.”
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