During the cold season, some of us love tramping out into the freezing temperatures and getting a numb nose, while others would prefer to huddle inside with a hot chocolate and ignore the outside world until spring. For a small subsection of the population, though, cold weather is more than just an inconvenience: it causes pain and problems with their daily functioning. It's an issue known as cold sensitivity or cold intolerance. "Cold sensitivity is an elusive condition that has previously been defined as an exaggerated or abnormal reaction to cold exposure, causing discomfort or the avoidance of cold," wrote Swedish researchers in 2018. However, it's not widely known, so you may be seriously sensitive to cold without knowing about it.
Having cold intolerance isn't just really hating getting cold (most of us don't like it very much); it's a mix of symptoms and metabolic regulation that makes cold exposure painful and annoying. Mount Sinai Health says that low body fat and circulation issues can often cause cold intolerance: they list things like anemia, Raynaud's phenomenon, or general poor health as possible underlying issues. If you experience serious aversion to the cold all of a sudden, it could be an important symptom to bring up to your doctor. Even if it's not related to an underlying health issue, though, cold sensitivity can manifest in some interesting ways. Here are some subtle but serious signs of cold intolerance.