Here in Buffalo, NY, harsh winters and piles of snow are the norm. We may suffer from a terrible pollen season, but we’re used to blizzards and we embrace lake effect (or at least we try to!) However, for a small minority of the population, frigid temperatures mean hives and a swollen throat. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a cold allergy. Here’s one Alberta native’s story.

What is a Cold Allergy?

When Arianna Kent was 14 shoveling snow from her driveway, her throat suddenly started to close up. It took her two years to discover the real cause of her suffering, and even now, she ends up in the hospital around once a month when someone opens up the fridge suddenly or cranks up the air conditioning.

This cold allergy is officially known as cold urticaria—a condition in which individuals will break out in hives if exposed to cold temperatures. Cold urticaria only affects about 0.05% of the population, but it can have a massive impact on day-to-day life.

How Do You Cope with a Cold Allergy?

There is no way to cure cold allergies; however, there are a number of ways to treat them.
1. Antihistamines: You can take over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines if you know you’re going to have to go out in the cold. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor will also give you an EpiPen you can use in case of emergency.

2. Preventative Measures: Talk to your physician about ways you can avoid coming in contact with the cold. Make sure you wear temperature-appropriate clothing, avoid ice-cold drinks and frozen desserts, and check the temperature of the water before hopping in the pool. These steps won’t necessarily prevent an outbreak entirely, but if you’re careful, they should help minimize your discomfort significantly.

3. Desensitization: By taking cold showers you can gradually help your body to recognize cold temperatures as harmless. However, make sure to talk to your allergist before considering any treatment options on your own. Anaphylactic shock is a very real possibility and very dangerous.

How Do You Test for a Cold Allergy?

Most people have never heard of cold urticaria, and when they do hear about it, they don’t believe it. In fact, it sometimes takes doctors years to uncover the real trigger. Thankfully,there’s a fairly simple test you can use to diagnose a cold allergy. Simply hold an ice cube to the underside of your arm for four to five minutes and monitor your skin for any abnormal reactions.

Is There Hope?

If you do suffer from a cold allergy, then don’t despair. Many people outgrow cold allergies within a few years and even within a few months. You can also train your skin to become less sensitive to the cold over time so your allergy attacks are both less often and less severe.

What can I expect at my ENT consultation?

Going to a medical specialist for the first time can be nerve-racking, especially if you’re already worried about your health. However, you can rest easy because you have nothing to fear. Below you’ll find a brief description of what you can expect from your first ENT...

Pediatric ENT: For Tiny Ears, Noses, and Throats

Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat | Your little bundle of joy is unique not only personally but also anatomically. If your child has a terrible case of the sniffles, then you might need a doctor who specializes pediatric ear, nose, and throat disorders. ENTs that specialize in pediatrics will be able to cater to your child’s specific needs.

Why is My Mucus a Different Color?

Buffalo, NY natives know how to brave the tough winter weather, but they don’t always know how to control rough winter allergy symptoms.

What Your Nose Doctor Wants You to Know About Body Odor

Buffalo, NY natives know how to brave the tough winter weather, but they don’t always know how to control rough winter allergy symptoms.

The Throbbing Truth About Earaches

The most common type of earache is otitis media which involves inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The narrow channel that connects the inside of the ear to the back of the throat is called a eustachian tube. When there is an accumulation of mucus and pus behind the eardrum, the eustachian tube becomes blocked. As a sudden infection occurs, it is called acute otitis media.
If earaches go untreated or improperly treated, fluid can linger within the ear for weeks. This condition is known as otitis media with effusion, and often occurs in ear infections that are in the recovery process. There are serious consequences to having chronic earaches, the worst of which is potential hearing loss.

What is the allergy forecast in Buffalo, NY?

The Buffalo, NY allergy forecast can tell you the daily pollen count for specific plants and trees in that area. By measuring the average number of grains of pollen per cubic meter of air, the pollen count serves as a rough guide to breathing comfort for anyone who may suffer from environmental allergies.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT EAR SAFETY BEFORE SAYING BON VOYAGE

How to Protect Your Ears During a Flight | You may have packed your bags and booked your hotel, but no trip to the travel agency can teach you how to protect your ears during a flight. Everyone experiences ear discomfort on airplanes because of the rapid change in air pressure during ascent and descent. Thankfully, though, there are ways to, if not prevent the issue entirely, at least mitigate the pain.

SOMETHING SMELL FISHY TO YOU? NO? HOW TO DEAL WITH POOR SENSE OF SMELL

When you have a poor sense of smell, not only can’t you detect aromas, but you also can’t taste your food or appreciate its complex flavors. If the world around you is depressingly bland, you might want to visit your ENT to see if you are, in fact, suffering from a smell disorder.

What does an ENT do for the throat?

ENT doctors are specialists of the ears, nose, and throat. While most specialists focus on only one organ-- dermatologists for the skin, for example—the ears, nose, and throat are so intricately connected that physicians need to understand the entire system in order...

What to Expect From an Allergist in Buffalo, NY

Nervous for your first visit to the allergist in Buffalo, NY? Don’t be! Here’s what to expect and how to best prepare for your upcoming appointment.