Dr. Alan Greene on Cold Urticaria

What exactly is cold urticaria and how is it treated?


My 11-year-old son has been diagnosed with cold urticaria. What concerns should I have with this?


Many people don't know that kids can be allergic to the cold, but cold urticaria (hives in response to cold temperature) is very real. Usually antihistamines are the mainstay of treatment, especially before exposure to the cold, if possible.

Cyproheptadine (Periactin) is especially effective for treating cold urticaria. Claritin has the advantage of being gentle and not producing drowsiness. Also, there are two types of histamine receptors in the body: H1 and H2. You get the most benefit from H1-blockers, such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl, Periactin, etc., but sometimes adding in a little of an H2 blocker, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac), is enough to make a big difference.

A pediatric allergist is usually the best person to see to manage this condition.


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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