Meet The 21-Year-Old Woman Who’s Allergic To Winter

Although the cold weather haters out there might reckon they're allergic to winter, there's one woman who really is - and she could even die if she doesn't wrap up warm in the frostier months.

Twenty-one-year-old Arianna Kent, from Canada of all countries, suffers with cold-induced urticaria, which basically means contact with anything from a cool breeze to cold water or temperature changes could hospitalise her.

And the reactions sound pretty bad. Not only does the autoimmune disease often cause itchy small pin-like hives to cover her entire body, but in the more extreme cases Arianna risks going into anaphylactic shock from the reactions.

During a particularly bad spot, she was in and out of hospital up to three times a month due to the severity of her symptoms.

Arianna Kent is allergic to winter. Credit: Caters
Arianna Kent is allergic to winter. Credit: Caters

Although this is a debilitating condition, Arianna says that people often don't take her allergy seriously.

She said: "It's not every day someone says 'I'm allergic to the cold' but it's a rough thing and especially when people don't believe you or know it exists.

"Even when I've been to the hospital and explain to them that I have an allergy to the cold, some professionals have no idea and look at me like I'm crazy.

"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 Kent shows the extent of her allergic reactions. Credit: Caters
Arianna Kent shows the extent of her allergic reactions. Credit: Caters

And if that weren't bad enough, she lives in one of the worst spots in terms of cold weather, where the temperature can drop as low as -40 Degrees Celsius.

As such, the admin worker has to be prepared for everything, staying in during the coldest days and even having to avoid air conditioning.

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

"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. I can go into full blown anaphylactic shock, so I have to carry an Epipen.

"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."

Arianna Kent shows the extent of her allergic reactions. Credit: Caters
Arianna Kent shows the extent of her allergic reactions. Credit: Caters

It wasn't always this way for Arianna. When she was 14 years old, she started experiencing the symptoms while shovelling snow. Mistaking them for a food allergy, it wasn't until she went to the doctors for tests that they discovered she had this rare condition.

As said, it means living where she does pretty damn tough - even walking to her car on a cold day can pose a risk. And if you're thinking she should just move to a hot country, there are even a bunch of triggers there, from having ice in her drink to going for a swim.

"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," she added.

"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."

Over the years, Ariana's managed to reduce the number of times she's admitted - from three a month to once a month - by changing her diet.

Arianna Kent shows the extent of her allergic reactions. Credit: Caters
Arianna Kent shows the extent of her allergic reactions. Credit: Caters

So foods containing histamine are a no - meaning that not only does Ariana have to be careful when it comes to wrapping up warm, but she's also got to avoid foods ranging from cheese, yoghurt and cream, to pickles, pineapples and fermented meats. Bad deal, girl.

That said, she seems to be dealing with it well. Perhaps her life would be made easier if everyone around her understood the condition a little more.

"While working in the restaurant industry despite needing to wear a cardigan to avoid a reaction - managers have told me I didn't look professional.

"But then when I was near to a breeze or sent to the fridge I would break out in hives. It would shock my employers and they would finally understand."

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Daisy Phillipson

Daisy is a UK-based freelance journalist with too many opinions. She loves everything film and music-related and has a track record writing for Little White Lies, BWRC, and Film Daily. Contact her at [email protected]

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