Chilblains are swellings on the skin occurred usually around the extremities such as such as the toes, fingers, heels, ears and nose, as a reaction to cold temperatures. The swellings are usually small and itchy; however they can become painful too. Chilblains, also known as pernio, are usually caused by inflammation of the blood vessels in the skin that is usually caused when an exposed body part moves from an extremely cold environment to a hot one. During extremely cold temperatures the blood vessels tend to restrict blood flow however when the body part move to a hot environment it caused unexpected expansion in the vessels leading to chilblains.
One of the most common examples is when a person with cold hands frequently allows hands to suddenly get warm. It can easily cause swelling and tingling in the hands, however it can also lead to formation of chilblains.
The chilblain is caused by the blood vessels restricting blood flow during extreme cold, but being exposed to warmth that causes an unexpected expansion, which results in fluid leaking into surrounding tissues. Chilblains are not dangerous and rarely cause any permanent damage, however if left untreated they can become very uncomfortable causing itchy and painful inflammations. In less common conditions they may even crack the skin, leading to infections. Their treatment may include simple anti-septic and antibiotics.
Chilblains take time to develop after sudden exposure to warm environment from cold environment. After several hours of exposure they commonly cause a burning and itching sensation in and around the affected areas, which can become more intense if the temperature rises. The affected skin may also swell and turn red or dark blue. In extreme cases, the skin may break, developing sores or blisters n the affected areas.
Chilblains usually don't require treatment as they get better on their own after couple of weeks. If they become too uncomfortable and painful you doctor may recommend you some creams or lotion to ease the itchiness and pain in the affected area and some medication to relax the blood vessels.
You can also find countless over the counter creams and lotions that claim to be the cure for chilblains, however they are not. Avoid scratching the affected skin as it can easily break and get infected.
It is better to prevent chilblains from occurring.
You can reduce the risk of developing chilblains by limiting the exposure to extremely cold or hot environments. Wearing warm clothes and avoid tight-fitting shoes and boots. If your hands or feet get too cold, warm them up only gradually. Warming them up too quickly, may cause chilblains.
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