A Chilblain or Perniosis is a small, itchy blue or red swellings occur in the winter on the toes but can occur on the finger, face and the nose. Chilblain usually occur several hours after exposure to the cold in temperate humid climates. Chilblains, also called pernio , are red to purple bumps that appear on the skin of extremities, usually the hands and feet, after exposure to cold. Chilblain start during the winter (when the weather gets colder) - the initial symptoms include burning and itching in the area of the developing chilblain. These symptoms
are often intensified when going into a warm room.
Chilblains Causes And Symptoms
In chilblains, freezing causes the terminal blood vessels
to shut down. This is called vasoconstriction. The local tissue metabolism
being at an extremely low ebb, the requirement for oxygen is much more, due to extreme cold. Vasoconstriction decreases blood supply, which leads to tissue damage. Chilblains are less common in countries where the cold is more extreme because the air is drier and people have specially designed living conditions and clothing.
Causes of Chilblains
Chilblains 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 include :-
- A familial tendency,
- Tight shoes,
- Poor circulation anemia,
- Abrupt temperature changes,
- Poor nutrition,
- Hormonal changes and
- Some connective tissue and bone marrow disorders.
Symptoms of Chilblains
- A burning sensation on the skin.
- Red, swollen patches.
- The lesion becomes increasingly painful.
- The lesion becomes very itchy.
- Intense itching.
- Dry skin, leading to splits and cracks.
Preventions tips for Chilblains
Keep your hands and feet warm when out in cold weather by using warm gloves and socks.
Keep the head and neck warm with hat and scarf.
Exercise vigourously before going outside.
Wear cotton-lined waterproof gloves for wet work
Take vasodilator medication such as nifedipine prescribed before the onset of cold weather and taken throughout winter. Side effects include flushing and headache.
Apply sunscreen to exposed skin even on dull days.
Home Treatment for Chilblains
- Keeping your feet warm is an important way to prevent chilblains - wear several layers of clothing, which trap body heat more efficiently than one bulky layer. Keep your fingers warm by wearing the gloves to prevent the chilblain.
- Soak hands/feet in a warm infusion of marigold flowers to a spoonful of sea salt has been added. Helps to reduce chilblains.
- Padding and pressure relief may give some relief for the chilblain symptoms.
- The part of the body that has chilblains should be elevated. This will reduce the swelling. Stay indoors in a warm room and let the body adjust to the warm room temperature naturally. Only then start with gentle, slow massage.
- Avoid scratching, and apply the anti-itch creams, calamine lotion and keep the effective chilblains toe and fingers in warm condition.
- The best treatment is to avoid having the chilblain problem in the first place by - wearing proper protection against the cold.
Natural Home Remedies to prevent Chilblain -
1.Onion is best for chilblain.
If you suffer from chilblain use this remedy regularly winter. Cut a raw onion . Use the cut edge all over the chilblains; let the juice soak into the skin. The severity of itching dies down almost instantly and also helps in reducing the chilblain.
2.Egg and Honey can also reduce chilblain.
Take a tablespoon of honey, a little glycerin, and one egg white. and add to this a little flour . Mix in to a paste. Apply all over the chilblain. Leave it on for 6-8 hours. Wash off. Cures your chilblain very quickly.
3.Potato is treatment for chilblain.
Slice a potato. Sprinkle some salt on it. Rub it all over the chilblain. Helps to soothe the itching and redness.
4. Regular Massage will helps to reduce chilblains.
Regular massage of hands and feet in winter with any warmed vegetable oil, with a few drops of lemon added, improves circulation. Use the discarded halves of lemons to cup them around fingers/toes, and rub them for a while. Wash off with warm water. Helps in reducing the chilblains.
5.Black peppercorns with mustard or sesame seed oil.
Grind a few black black peppercorns and fry them in a tablespoonful of hot mustard or sesame seed oil. Filter and while still warm, use this oil for massage. Make sure the skin is not abraded or bruised, or else this will cause pain and inflammation in the chilblains.
6.Garlic Juice reduces the itching of the chilblain.
Fresh juice and warm oil helps in reducing itching of chilblain. Rinse out hands in warm water, or the pungent garlic smell will remain.
All above are the best treatment to cure chilblains, but prevention in this as in most cases, is better than cure. Avoid smoking, Keep warm, be adequately clothed, keep dry and keep moving.
Treatment in case of severe chilblain
In case of the severe chilblain you need professional attention. A qualified podiatrist can treat your chilblain and offer advice on prevention. If you have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, see your doctor if your chilblain ulcerate.