Meet The 21-Year-Old Woman Who Is Allergic To The Cold

It's fair to say not all of us are fond of winter weather, but for one woman, her allergy to the cold could actually be fatal.

Twenty-one-year-old Arianna Kent from Edmonton, Canada, suffers from cold-induced urticaria which means anything from a cool breeze to cold water and even temperature changes could see her hospitalised.

The auto-immune diseases causes small, itchy hives to appear, which can spread across her entire body.

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

Arianna could go into anaphylactic shock every time she has a reaction, and was once hospitalised three times in a month because of the severity of her symptoms. She must always carry an Epi-Pen in case she has a reaction.

The insurance admin worker says that people don't believe the seriousness of her allergy, which has left doctors baffled.

To make things even more difficult, Arianna lives in an area where the temperature can drop to as low as -40 degrees Celsius.

Arianna has to ensure she's prepared for every occasion, staying inside when it's really cold outside, and even has to avoid air conditioning units.

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

"I've probably had a thousand reactions, there have been a lot as even the smallest things can set off my allergy," she explained.

"It is a slow process, starting as small pin-sized hives on my arm that get bigger and begin to become raised. At their largest my whole body can look like a whole swollen welt.

"It causes my skin to burn and itch, for my throat it's like asthma where you are wheezing harder and find it difficult to breathe. It's like something is sitting on your chest making it feel tighter and heavier."

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

Arianna continued: "It's terrifying knowing that if I'm in an area without access to medical help and my throat closes up I could be at serious risk."

She added: "People often don't believe me or know it's a real allergy, they say, 'Yes Arianna, we know you're always cold but that doesn't mean you're allergic to it'."

Arianna first started having reactions at 14-years-old, developing hives and breathing difficulties while shovelling snow.

After initially confusing her symptoms for a food allergy, it took Arianna two years to discover the true cause of the reaction.

Her allergy is a source of constant difficulty as it can make leaving the house extremely hard.

"I can be outside for five minutes before a reaction, but even walking to my car is potentially dangerous," she explained.

"I have to stay layered up and prepare for temperature changes, if it does change drastically, I have to slowly heat myself up or when I cool down again I'll have a reaction."

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

It's not just the winter either, as her symptoms also cause havoc in summer - having ice in her drink, jumping in a pool and even sweating can all cause a reaction.

She said: "I can feel it in my throat if I'm drinking something cold, it feels tight and tense, it's the same if I eat ice cream.

"I can avoid a cold pool or drink, but you never know when it will start raining or get cold outside. That's not in my control."

Arianna manages her symptoms by switching to a low-histamine diet - a chemical that spurs the body's immune system into action.

She avoids cheese, yoghurt, cream, pickles, fermented meats and even pineapples to keep the hives at bay.

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews is an NCTJ trained Journalist at PRETTY52. She specialises in Fashion Journalism, and has experience at a range of online and print publications. She is a Journalism and English language graduate of Kingston University, London, and joined the team in 2017. Contact her - rachel.andrews@pretty52.com

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