Tuesday , January 26 2021

Woman 'allergic to cold' wears face mask in case temperature drop kills her

A woman who is "allergic to cold" needs a face mask outdoors in case a drop in temperature sparks a deadly reaction.

Max Fisher, 23, says she has been diagnosed with cold-induced urticaria which can kill kill sufferers in extreme cases.

Those who suffer from anaphylactic shock

And it is not just winter temperatures that could set Max.

From inhaling cold air or sipping a cool drink she comes out in red, itchy hives and her throat closes up.

The Pharmacology graduate is raising awareness about the condition ahead of the expected cold snap.

Max, of Sherwood, Nottingham, said: "I'm allergic to the cold so I'm basically allergic to winter.

Whenever Max inhales cold air or drinks a cool drink she comes out in red, itchy hives

Max Fisher, 23, has a face mask in the street

"I was diagnosed with a conditional called urticaria in 2009.

"I wear a face mask outdoors to prevent a reaction.

"The symptoms are mostly an urticarial rash, big swollen, hot and very itchy.

"If I breathe in cold air, I get wheezy, so when I put the mask on it's coming through slightly warmed material.

"That mixes with the warm air that I have just breathed out – so it takes the edge of any cold that is out there.

The allergic reaction is similar to people who go into anaphylactic shock if they suffer a bee sting

"I was quite an outdoorsy person

"I used to go to car shows with my dad all the time.

"I would just like typical kid stuff like running around and climbing trees.

"I would love it if more people were aware of urticaria

"People wear masks for all sorts of reasons

"When I wear the mask people stare and I get abuse in the street sometimes

A red rash and swelling occurs when exposed to certain temperatures

"Sometimes I do not want to deal with that shop and get a bag of crisps from the shop.

"I live with chronic pain and sometimes I use a walking stick or a wheelchair.

"Trying to work

"It's so frustrating – I've done really hard – I have a Master's degree in Pharmacology

"I've done all of this hard-work and put myself out there and employers are just 'ah wheelchair'.

Max was diagnosed with a conditional called urticaria in 2009

"I was really nervous at first, to be like I could get out of the wheelchair, I can walk a little bit.

"So I do not have to be in a box of can or can walk.

"Disabled people exist and some of us wear masks, some of us use wheelchairs, some of us use walking sticks.

"I definitely want people with disabilities to be accepted."

Cold-induced urticaria is an auto-immune disease, which causes her to break out in the hives which burns and itch, and can spread throughout her body, varying in size.

The pharmacology graduate is raising awareness about the condition

But it's not as simple as moving to a warm country, as in the summer ice in her drink causes her fingers to swell, opening a fridge or freezer, jumping into a pool or a breeze can chill her, causing a reaction.

Max first experienced a breakout when she was 14, when she developed breathing difficulties

But her symptoms were mistaken for a pollen allergy for the several weeks, and she claims even now some medical professionals do not understand her condition.

She said: "It was a summer's day and I just sat down on the wet grass and suddenly started wheezing and struggling to breathe.

Max Fisher, 23, suffers from cold-induced urticaria

"I got an idle red rash all over my arms and I had no idea what was going on.

"Initially doctors thought it was a pollen allergy but more tests revealed it was urticaria.

"Apparently the wet grass on my skin cooled it so much that it triggered the reaction.

"It's scary when it does happen because I do not know if my throat gets up completely but now I take antihistamines every day just in case I suffer another reaction.

"The summer is just as bad as the winter and I've come out in hives.

"As long as I'm of a constant, medium temperature with no drops in the temperature I'm ok but it is a daily battle."

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