Discussing the weather isn’t just idle chatter for some people. It’s life-altering stuff.
Most of us are probably aware that as the weather gets hotter, outbreaks of hives (urticaria) tend to increase. Heat is among the main triggers of the condition. About one in five people will develop hives at some time in their lives, and summer is the season that seems to bring the most discomfort.
Heat hives is an allergic reaction and is medically known as cholinergic urticaria. It’s basically the condition of being hypersensitive to heat, or to sweating. People with this condition wonder if they are allergic exercise. (Technically, they’re not. It’s the sweating that’s the culprit.)
Most people with this type of hives have no symptoms at all when they are in normal room temperature. But in high temperatures they begin to feel a stinging or itching feeling. This may be randomly spread through the body, or it may begin in an individual area like the wrists, face, chest, legs, or back.
It’s not just the heat
The vast majority of weather-induced hives come from the hotter weather, but there is also something called cold-induced urticaria. It’s relatively rare condition, but it kicks in as the temperatures dip.
The “familial” type of cold hives runs in a family’s genes and emerges in infancy. The more common cold-induced form is “acquired.” It’s not genetic, and cases have occurred in babies as well as senior citizens.
Some unfortunate people are actually afflicted with hives that break out in situations of both heat and cold. Those folks find room temperature comfortable, but venturing outside to experience significant changes (mainly in summer or winter) triggers their hives.
How do I fight the weather?
Well, you don’t. If you find that your hives are triggered by sunlight, atmospheric pressure, cold or heat, the only real “cure” is to avoid that trigger. (No one went to medical school to come up with that remedy.) If sunlight is the problem, sunblock lotions or fabrics that block specific wavelengths of light can be effective.
In the end, awareness is really the best weapon you have in minimizing the severity and duration of your weather-related hives outbreaks.