The most commonly recognized allergies tend to be those to foods such as peanuts or shellfish. In fact, however, it is possible to be allergic to a wide range of substances, both food and non-food. According toUSA Today,it is even possible to be allergic to cold weather.
One person diagnosed with this unusual allergy is Grant Schlager. The 11-year-old Minnesota resident loves to play outside, but can’t go outside during winter. The cold weather makes him break out in hives, and if he stays out too long, the allergic reaction can become even more serious. If he begins feeling itchy, he has to stay indoors. Even drinking an ice-cold soda has reportedly caused a reaction.
Grant takes antihistamine pills twice each day, and carries an EpiPen with him. Though epinephrine is more closely associated with bee stings and peanut allergies, it can also stop his allergic reaction. When he is exposed to cold weather, or even an air-conditioned room, his body releases histamines, which cause his symptoms.
Grant has officially been diagnosed with cold urticaria by the Mayo Clinic. His mother, Amy Schlager, says at first she was skeptical about the cause of her son’s reactions. “I had never heard of it before and I was skeptical… How can anybody be allergic to cold?” she asked.
According to a 1996 study conducted in Europe, about one in 2,000 people may be affected by cold urticaria. Joshua Miner of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who led a recent study into potential genetic components of the condition, suspects that it may be even more common.