I’ve been seeing a lot of posts recently about people with Cold Induced Urticaria (CU) as an excuse and sometimes a negative deterrent about doing something. On one of the many forums a young lady posted that she is a scuba diver, was just certified for ICE diving, and then a month ago began breaking out due to the cold. The reaction of the forum shocked me. Members kept saying things like "Swimming is the most dangerous thing you can do! You have to stop Scuba Diving!" "Why would you put yourself in danger like that!" The negative comments go on. I can no longer stand negative comments like this.
you can do is not know your body, not know your reaction cycle, and not pay
attention or have those around you pay attention.
I have had CU since I was two or three. I have spent 23 years stumping doctors, being told by teachers that "You can’t be allergic to the cold" and having them eat those words when I am covered in hives after being outside. From kindergarten to sixth grade, I played on a soccer team. For those who don’t know, kids soccer season runs from September to Thanksgiving and in New Jersey October starts getting cold. I would break out in hives. I would get dizzy but my parents wanted me to have a normal life like everyone else. They brought blankets to games to wrap me in to keep me warm, hot coffee to warm me up and were supportive when I said "I’m just too cold to keep playing." So I come from a mind set of "Of course I can do this, I just need to plan ahead."
When I was little, I would break out in hives in the Dairy Section of the supermarket. My worst break out was when I was 16. I went to the beach with a friend’s family and the cold water bypassed my allergy and sent me straight into Hypothermia (with
dehydration). It wasn’t until I got to the hospital did I start breaking out in hives. It was 95 degrees that day; the water was closer to 55.
That incident made me start paying attention to my break outs. It made me start knowing to figure out when my limit is. I put a lot of time and energy into knowing what is too much for me. My doctor never knew if there was medication that could help. Nothing he read online ever made sense on why it would work and he didn’t want to
prescribe something "just to try it out." For my regular allergies he put me on Zerteck and for my Asthma he put me on Singular. After a few months of taking them I noticed that my CU was a lot more manageable. I didn’t have as many out breaks. I didn’t itch. Then I lost insurance and ran out of Singular and the outbreaks returned to normal. It turns out for me, that I need both of these to control my CU, one without the other does
nothing for the CU. My doctor does not know why this is.
Since College I’ve picked up other out door activities including a Year Round Improve Camping Group. We go outside in the winter but sleep indoors. And I go. I can almost hear some people on the forums screaming saying that it’s the most dangerous thing I can do! Why would I put myself in that danger? I camp because I love nature, I love
being outside, I love my friends and I keep myself safe. Everyone knows of my allergy and they know that if they see red dots on my face to send me to "get a cup of coffee" and I’ll head inside and warm up. I don’t let my unexplainable allergy stop me. There is no point to be negative about something you cannot control. Learn your limits. Learn where the line in the sand is and push it. My theory on why I was able to shovel snow
during the polar vortex (if the wind was not blowing) without breaking out
in hives was because I do not lock myself up in the winter. I go out. I have fun. I wear
You can live a normal life with CU. You just have to plan a little more.