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Itchy skin? You could have this cold-weather condition

Thursday, February 13th 2020, 3:54 pm - Cold weather can be hard on your skin.

Winter can bring about common cold-exposure conditions, like frostbite or hypothermia, as well as lesser-known phenomena that target certain people.

If you develop reddish, itchy welts or experience swelling after cold exposure, you could have a rare skin allergy called cold urticaria.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people with the condition report a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild itchiness to more serious reactions, like anaphylaxis or swelling of the tongue and throat.

"Cold urticaria symptoms begin soon after the skin is exposed to a sudden drop in air temperature or to cold water," the Mayo Clinic says on its website.

"Damp and windy conditions may make a flare of symptoms more likely. Each episode may persist for about two hours."

The condition may be tricky to self-identify because hives may not present every time a patient is exposed to the cold, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says on its website.

For others, there may be specific triggers like swimming in cold water or cold wind.

Air conditioning and the freezer section of a grocery store can also provoke a reaction, the AAD says.

Rashes can be treated with antihistamines but experts say it's better to try and prevent the rashes from occurring in the first place with the use of warm outdoor clothing that's water and wind-proof.

Some patients may require prescribed medication to keep flare-ups under control.

If you think you have cold urticaria, consult a doctor, and seek emergency care if you suddenly develop a serious reaction to cold exposure.

Thumbnail image courtesy: Getty Images.

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