Allergic to cold?

What must it be like to literally be allergic to cold weather and live in Minnesota?

The Mayo Clinic National Institutes of Health reports the discovery of a genetic mutation in 27 people from three families who all had “cold urticaria” mixed with other immune system abnormalities and disorders, USA Today reports.

What’s it like? Here’s the description of Grant Schlager, 12, of Jackson, Minnesota:

So that means he can’t play in the cold for hours, the way many Minnesota kids do. “After 15 minutes, my dad or mom will check me to see if I have any bumps,” the fifth-grader says. If he is breaking out or feeling itchy, he has to go inside for a while. Swimming in cold water is risky, and so is drinking an icy soda. Just to be safe, he takes a twice-daily antihistamine and stays close to an EpiPen (a dose of epinephrine) — the same stuff kids with peanut and bee-sting allergies need to inject if they have a life-threatening reaction.

What’s additionally fascinating about the story is the number of people who have come forward — in this case in the comments attached to the USA Today article — to say, “me too.”

I went through this exact experience in 8th grade. It came out of nowhere on a windy day in Chicago. All through high school no one believed me that I was allergic to body temperature change. I finally found a medication balance that works for me (Singular & Zrytec). It still comes every now and then, but it’s more manageable than before. I hope your daughter has found a balance! It’s an annoying condition that you just have to learn to adapt to.

The CBC this week carried more on allergies to cold, interviewing a woman in Manitoba whose daughter got hives whenever her skin touched snow. Listen to the interview.

“Why do you live here,” the CBC host asked.

“We’ve lived here all of our lives,” she said.

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