Cold weather causes woman to break out in spidery purple rash
A woman developed strange web-like purple rashes all over her body that turned out to be due to a rare disease triggered by cold weather.
COOPERSTOWN, NEW YORK — A 70-year-old New Yorker developed a strange spidery rash after cold weather triggered a rare blood condition.
In a case published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a woman from upstate New York sought medical attention for dizziness and a purple rash.
Doctors noted that the rash was consistent with livedo reticularis, which is caused by blood vessel spasms or abnormal circulation beneath the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But after blood samples revealed an almost clear fluid with red clumps instead of a deep crimson fluid, doctors diagnosed the woman with a rare autoimmune condition called cold agglutinin disease.
According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, the disease causes antibodies that normally attack bacteria to attach to red blood cells when triggered by cold temperatures. The cells end up in clumps through a process known as agglutination, eventually getting destroyed and resulting in a drastic decrease in blood oxygen.
Doctors believe the woman's condition was exacerbated by a recent viral infection, as well as the below freezing weather at the time.
Fox News reports that the woman was kept warm and treated with blood transfusions and medication. After a week, the ratio of red blood cells to total blood volume doubled, indicating the anemia had disappeared. Dizziness also subsided, but the rash persisted.
Good thing it's easy to cover up in winter.
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