CLEVELAND – Northeast Ohioans are enduring a winter with plenty of snow and freezing temperatures, but the harsh conditions can be especially harmful for one man with an allergy to the cold.
Cold urticaria is a rare condition that can leave people with hives and other extreme symptoms when exposed to the cold.
“It’s crazy because when I tell people that, they laugh,” said Rocque Trem, who was diagnosed with the condition and lives outside of Cleveland. “They think I'm saying I hate the cold. Everybody is looking at me [but] I’m really allergic to the cold!”
FOX 8’s Mark Zinni first met Rocque a few months after he was diagnosed. He became aware of his condition near the end of 2010.
“It’ll happen just like that. It can happen anywhere at any part of my body at any time if it’s exposed to cold. It’s crazy,” said Rocque, who has been seeing a physician at the Cleveland Clinic.
“About 50% of individuals can go into remission within five years, so that means 50% don’t, but with those individuals, we should be able to control them with medications,” said Dr. Sandra Hong, during a previous interview with FOX 8 in 2011.
Rocque was hoping his symptoms would subside, but that hasn’t happened so he keeps an EpiPen handy at all times and dresses in layers throughout the winter.
He admits, many have asked why he doesn’t move. “I mean, I’m born – It’s kinda hard to just uproot your family and move away just because you've got an allergy!”
A bad reaction could be very serious, even deadly, and that’s worrisome for a guy who loves hockey and has children who love to play in the snow. But even in the summer, he could break out in hives from air conditioning.
“I forget, because I don’t always think about it – you know – I forget that I have it. Then all of a sudden, my face will be itching; I’ll be scratching and be like, looking in the mirror and I’m like, oh shoot - I realize I got the air conditioning duct - maybe my wife had the car last - pointed right at my face and it’s blowing right in my face and that’s enough to make it hive up,” said Rocque.
As long as he is prepared at all times, cold urticaria doesn’t keep Rocque from doing anything he wants to do, which is good in a region where the snow hasn’t stopped this winter.
“We still have fun. We don’t let it bother us too much. Things could always be worse,” joked Rocque.
For more information about cold urticaria, CLICK HERE.