When she was 14 years old, Nana Agyen, a senior from Accra, Ghana, diagnosed herself with cold, heat and exercise-induced Urticaria. Anytime the weather is extremely cold or hot, hives cover her entire body. she has the same allergic reaction when she works out.
I was participating in a basketball competition at my middle school in Accra, Ghana. my skin started to itch as I ran back and forth on the court with my friends. I thought I was itchy because it was incredibly hot, and I was sweating like crazy. but then I saw spots on my on my arms and legs, in rows like a cornfield.
I ignored it at first, running even harder to keep up with everyone, but the more I ran, the bigger they got. I discovered that they were everywhere including my face. I started scratching them and within seconds, they got bigger. On my arm, the hives came together in this huge blob. there were huge patches of red, swollen, itchy hives everywhere else on my body.
I panicked and ran to tell my teacher. he grabbed some of my friends and took me into an empty classroom. they poured cold water on me, hoping that it would cool down my skin. Little holes appeared on each of the hives, clearly not helping the matter. Later I discovered this reaction was cold Urticaria.
Some boys walked into the classroom. they hadn’t seen anything like this before. they took one look at me and called me a lizard. It honestly looked like had scales.
I put talcum powder on my skin and the hives went away. my mom thought I’d grow out of it, so I never went to the doctor. but every time since then, the breakout comes back in extremely hot or cold weather. I try to only go out in the perfect weather but it isn’t something I can control. Walking across the campus in the heat is the worst, and working out at the recreation center is a challenge.
I used to fear that one day the spots would stay on me forever. It was embarrassing because no one I knew had ever seen it before. Now I’ve accepted this condition as a part of me.