You'll probably first visit your primary care doctor. He or she may then refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin diseases (dermatologist) or to an allergy specialist (allergist-immunologist).
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For cold urticaria, some basic questions to ask include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- How long will these hives last?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
- Do these treatments have any side effects?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- I have other health problems. Are the recommended treatments compatible?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions such as:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have you recently been ill?
- Do others in your family have similar symptoms?
- Have you taken any new medications recently?
- Have you tried any new foods?
- Have you traveled to a new place?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
If you're experiencing mild hives, these tips may help relieve your symptoms:
Nov. 21, 2014
- Avoid irritating affected areas.
- Avoid whatever you think may have triggered your reaction, such as facing into a cold wind or swimming in cold water.
- Minimize vigorous activity, which can release more irritants into your skin.
- Use over-the-counter antihistamines to help relieve the itching.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Mauer M. Cold urticaria. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Physical urticarias. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Urticaria and angioedema. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Sciallis GF, et al. Localized cold urticaria to the face in a pediatric patient: A case report and literature review. Pediatric Dermatology. 2010;27:266.
- Ombrello MJ, et al. Cold urticaria, immunodeficiency, and autoimmunity related to PLCG2 deletions. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366:330.
- Isik S, et al. Idiopathic cold urticaria and anaphylaxis. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2014;30:38.
- Abajian M, et al. Physical urticarias and cholinergic urticaria. Immunology & Allergy Clinics of North America. 2014;34:73.
- Lang DM, et al. Contemporary approaches to the diagnosis and management of physical urticaria. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2013;111:235.