What It's Like to Live In Upstate New York And Be Allergic To The Cold
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

What It's Like to Live In Upstate New York And Be Allergic To The Cold

No, I'm not kidding.

131
What It's Like to Live In Upstate New York And Be Allergic To The Cold
Pexels

What? An allergy to the cold? Is that even a thing? Yes, in fact it is. Cold-induced urticaria is a histamine (allergic) reaction to cold temperatures, most often cold air or water. It causes hives to appear on the skin of the exposed area and in my case if I get too many hives I can go into anaphylactic shock and faint because my blood pressure drops too much. In case you’re curious, this has only happened to me once.

I was at a New England beach with my friends in early June, so the water was COLD. I didn’t know about my cold allergy yet (I had gotten rashes on my cheeks when I went skiing but I had merely attributed this to “sensitive skin”). About five minutes after I got out of the water, my friend asked, “what’s happening to your legs?”. Looking down, I saw that they had ballooned to nearly twice their original size (that might be a slight exaggeration), had turned the color of tomatoes and a rash was quickly spreading. The reaction is actually the worst when you’re drying off because the water evaporates from your skin, taking heat with it and leaving you even colder. I was fine until about 30 minutes later when I was suddenly overcome with a sensation of extreme nausea, quickly followed by the near-loss of my vision and hearing. My valiant friends fetched me water and waited with me until the feeling passed--I didn’t faint but I came very close. I later learned that this was due to the extreme drop in my blood pressure caused by the hives. And that’s the story of why I carry an Epipen around with me now.

Back to the current matter, why and how do I live with this condition in upstate New York? First of all, I’m from Boston so although my cold-induced urticaria only developed when I was about 15, I’ve had a few years of practice with cold winters. Knowing that I have this condition, my parents encouraged me to look at schools in the South where the winters would be more mild. However, I ended up not liking any of the schools I visited in the South (no offense to Southern schools, they just weren’t for me) and fell in love with Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. So, here we are.

Although I’m used to the cold in Boston, I (correctly) anticipated that I would be walking more in college as to get between most buildings there is no other option than to go outside. Skidmore is (unwittingly) perfectly set up for a person with cold-induced urticaria. There are overpasses EVERYWHERE to shield me from the snow and rain (cold rain is particularly bad), all of the academic buildings are connected so you can get to virtually any classroom without going outside, and the campus is so compact that my longest walk is a six-minute walk to the music building.

That being said, I still have to bundle up in my wool coat, scarf, mittens, hat, leggings AND sweatpants if I want to do something like wait for the bus or walk the 15 minutes to CVS. When I get a reaction, often the worst part (aside from the consequent light-headedness) is embarrassment from having a rash on my face that I’m sure people don’t know the cause of. I’m ashamed to say this because my body’s natural reaction to its environment shouldn’t be something that I feel I have to hide, however knowing that doesn’t necessarily change the way I feel about it. Thus, for my own comfort and fear of embarrassment, I often make conscious choices such as calling a taxi so I don’t have to wait in the cold for a bus.

Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t really know, perhaps to spread awareness so that the next time you see somebody’s face covered with hives you’ll know the reason why. I should note that my friends are incredibly supportive, always lending me coats and gloves, which is incredibly appreciated. As one friend said to me, “it’s just an excuse for me to give you more hugs”. Everybody has their quirks and this is mine, so just be conscious of each others' unique qualities and remember that we’re beautiful in all of our variety.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
relationships

I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend

I didn't know that you would stop doing the things that make you happy. The things everyone used to judge you for. You are the type of person who does things on YOUR terms and now they're on his.

1533
I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend
unsplash.com

As your best friend, all I ever want is for you to be happy. Because as best friends, we know exactly what makes the other happy. I know all your weird and quirky lingo. I know how much you hate certain foods and most of all, I know the things that are important to you in life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

5629
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

8277
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

6748
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

8486
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments