The cold hard facts


I’ve joked about it for years. Really, long before I was blogging. It makes for quick laughs, but it’s actually quite bothersome. I don’t just dislike cold, I’m actually allergic to it. Think that’s a myth? Here are some cold hard facts.

I always wonder why I have physical reactions to cold. It has gotten so far into my head that I begin to wonder if it is all psychosomatic.

Sure, being uncomfortable with cold is not unique. Plenty of people prefer balmier temps. For me, though, balmy is mid-80’s. Still, I’ve managed to accumulate enough flannel and heavy coats over the years to protect most of my flesh.

But, what also bothers me is when I am simply pushing the shopping card down the dairy or frozen sections at Publix. Or rearranging stuff in my freezer. That’s when I have actual physical reactions.

So, I did some research on the ‘net. Yeah, we all know how we can create all sorts of maladies for ourselves when we use the web for diagnoses. Nevertheless, I persisted.

Turns out, there is a condition, called cold urticaria, that is defined as a skin reaction due to cold exposure. The symptoms are such:

  • Temporary reddish, itchy welts (hives) on the area of skin that was exposed to cold
  • A worsening of the reaction as the skin warms
  • Swelling of hands while holding cold objects
  • Swelling of lips from consuming cold food or drink

Ugh. There are actually worse results, too, but I’m too squeamish to list them. Suffice to say, I felt vindicated, if not relieved.

I am thankful, I suppose, that my condition appears to be on the very cusp of being urticaria. For me, I get the redness (but not the welts) and the itchiness, especially around the joints in the fingers.

But, that’s about it. The symptoms do actually last past exposure, I can vouch to that. Fortunately, not long past, in my case.

That’s over and above, of course, my actual real discomfort with cold, in general. Many times have my tennis playing buddies called out curses at me for being either lethargic of just plain whiny about cold weather. Eventually, I just quit playing at temps below upper 60’s.

So, yeah, I still like to make people giggle about my aversion to cold, but never imagine it’s just a joke. I am, by all accounts, allergic to cold. That’s the cold hard facts of it.

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