What is Chilblains?
Chilblains, also called pernio, causes red, swollen skin, which appears several hours after exposure to extreme cold. It’s due to inflammation of the small blood vessels in the skin in response to cold. Chilblains most often appears on the cheeks, ears, nose, Heels, Wrists of babies, Backs and sides of the fingers and toes. The affected skin may have an itchy, burning sensation.
Symptoms of Chilblains
- A burning sensation on the skin.
- Red, swollen patches.
- Intense itching.
- Dry skin, leading to splits and cracks.
- Possible secondary infection.
- Ulceration, in severe cases.
Causes of Chilblains
- A chilblain is an abnormal reaction to cold.
- Elderly people with a poor circulation are at a greater risk.
- Young adults who work outdoors or in cold conditions, such as butchers, are also at risk.
- If the skin is chilled and then followed by too rapid warming such as a gas fire, a chilblain may develop.
- Damp living conditions can also be a contributing factor.
- The sudden onset of very cold water on the skin can also lead to a chilblain.
- Other contributing factors include dietary, hormonal imbalance and people who suffer from anemia.
Treatment of Chilblains
- Gentle exercise will improve circulation to your feet.
- Wear woollen or cotton socks.
- Keep your whole body warm.
- Antibiotic creams may be useful if the skin ulcerates.
- Wearing proper protection against the cold.
- Avoid scratching.
- Anti-itch creams.
- Calamine lotion.
Prevention Tips Of Chilblains
- The hands and feet must not be allowed to get cold. DO NOT SMOKE!
- Avoid long periods of exposure to cold or damp weather.
- Warm clothing especially gloves, thick woolen socks and comfortable protective footwear. Keep the head and neck warm with hat and scarf.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable and don’t squeeze your toes.
- Gentle exercise, like walking, every day to improve peripheral circulation.
- Wear cotton-lined waterproof gloves for wet work.
- Apply sunscreen to exposed skin even on dull days .
- Dry feet thoroughly after showering or bathing.