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J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2001 Nov;6(2):141-2.

Cold urticaria.

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Dermatology Department, University Hospital, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Lyon, France.


Cold urticaria is one form of urticaria that may be associated with other forms of physical urticarias. Frequency is generally estimated at two or three per 100. The triggering effect of cold is found at history taking in most of the cases. The urticaria is usually superficial, and more rarely associated with deep and/or mucosal urticaria. The diagnosis is based on history taking and the ice cube test. An exhaustive search for an etiologic factor is often unfruitful, and the presence of a cryopathy should lead to a complete work-up. Therapy of cold urticaria may prove to be difficult. In patients with secondary cold urticaria, underlying disease must be treated in order to resolve the skin symptoms. H1-antihistamines can be used but the clinical responses are highly variable. Short-time treatment with low concentration corticosteroids suppresses the symptoms only partially and temporarily. In patients who do not respond to previous treatments, induction of cold tolerance may be proposed but the procedure is difficult to carry out in daily life over an extended period. Key word: cryoglobulins.

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