Allergic to Cold Temperatures

One of my claims to fame is being a freak of nature.  I am allergic to cold temperatures. **pause**  Did you just laugh?

That’s what I’ve dealt with my entire life.  Whenever I’m at the doctors and tell them I’m allergic to cold temperatures I get a hearty chuckle and they say they are too.  I have to stop them and correct them and tell them while it is funny I really AM allergic to cold temperatures.  It may not be a medicine but generally it’s one the docs should know so I list it.

I can’t tell you how many times I had to prove my allergy as a kid to my classmates and friend’s parents because they didn’t believe me.  If you are curious to easily prove this allergy you can grab an ice cube and hold it against your skin and you get hives.  Fun times I assure you but it usually was the only think to stop the mocking.

It is also a deadly disease for me although I haven’t managed to die yet from it.  The worst thing for me seems to be cold water and as a kid I didn’t want to be different and only swim for a few minutes so I’d stay in a cold pool in those early June days far longer than I should have and twice it was close to killing me.  The first time I was at the local pool and got out during the requisite break and got in line for snacks.  By the time I’d got to the front of the line I’d lost my vision.  To this day it still freaks me out a bit to think of.  Suddenly I was blind and all I could see were neon highlights were things were raised.  I begged the snack lady to call the paramedics and passed out.  The next thing I recalled was them asking for my Mom’s number (she was at the bar, that’s another story for another day) and then the paramedics were there and were totally clueless what to do besides warm me up.  When I was warmed up I was ok.

The other time I think was the same summer and I was in a cold pool and stayed in far too long again.  By the time I got out I passed out again and I came to in the shower.  My Dad was on the phone with Elizabeth City (the closest hospital to us, over an hour away) and they had no idea how to deal with my allergy either.  They told my Dad to have my Mom strip down (she was the bigger of the two) and me and wrap us both up together in a blanket for body heat.  I remember vaguely being weirded out by that LOL.  Eventually though it worked and my Dad would later say that he truly thought I was going to die.  I guess it was pretty close for a while there and he knew that we wouldn’t make the hospital.

After those incidents I got a dose of reality and realized I needed to pay attention to my hives more and stop whatever I was doing when I got them.  It sucked though and even though I still could play in the snow a bit it was never for as long as I would hope for.

Here’s the kicker: generally if you have this allergy as a kid YOU GROW OUT OF IT!  As an adult with this allergy you generally acquired it secondary to an infection or mutated gene.  So I’m a double freak of nature because while I have the childhood allergy that I never grew out of, I have some of the factors of the other form of “cold allergy” called FCAS.  I get flu like symptoms and just generally feel like hell now after I have an outbreak of hives but I still get the hives fairly quickly rather than the hours later like FCAS.  Fun times I assure you.

Maybe there are others like me that will stumble on this blog and not feel so alone.  When I met the first person I ever knew to have an allergy to cold, a friend remarked it was like I’d met a long lost sibling.  It WAS like that because until then I’d never known anyone else to have it.  However it was him telling me that he’d grown out of it and he thought everyone did to get me to look further into it.

To my fellow “freaks” out there, HELLO!

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