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Chilblain- Do you Know about Chilblains

What is chilblain?

Chilblains are painful swelling of our blood vessels in our skin due to the response of external stimulus (change in environment) of repeated exposure to cold but not freezing.

Chilblains are also known as pernio or chill burns or induced vascular disorder. Chilblains can cause swelling, blisters, also tissue damage on your hands and feet. It is also confused as frostbite or trench foot.

What causes chilblains?

Cold weather of the atmosphere can cause our blood vessels near the surface of the skin to tighten. 1 st temperature comes back to normal, it results in the extreme quick expansion of small blood vessels.

This course blood to leak in nearby tissue, causing swelling. The swelling irritates the nerves in the affected area causing pain.

How long does it take to recover from chilblains?

Most symptoms of chilblains go away within one-three weeks especially when the atmosphere is warmer. Treatment concedes by protecting oneself from the cold temperature and using lotions to make symptoms easy.

Chilblains don't usually result in permanent injury. But the condition may lead to an infection, which may cause severe damage if left unseen.

The best way to cure chilblains is to avoid them from developing by limiting your exposure to the cold, dressing warm and covering open skin.

Symptoms of chilblains:

Chilblains are parts of skin that appear swollen and red or sometimes blue in color. Due to the swelling, they may look shimmy.

Other symptoms include:

  • burning sensation
  • blisters
  • itchiness and small red itchy spots on the skin
  • Skin ulcers
  • Changes in skin color from red to dark blue including pain

When to go to the doctor?

Chilblains usually do get better on their own.  Seek medical attention for complications if the pain is unusually severe or extreme, or if you suspect an infection, or if your symptoms do not seem to improve after one to two weeks.

If symptoms persist during the hot season, consult a doctor to rule out other conditions.  If you have diabetes or poor blood circulation, healing may be slow and impaired.  Be careful and ask for medical care.

Risk factors of occurring chilblains:

Factors that can increase the risk of chilblains are:

Clothes that are very tight exposing skin to cold - Wearing clothes with very tight-fitting clothes and shoes in cold, damp weather makes you more prone to chilblains.

And the skin which is been exposed to cold weather and damp surrounding conditions is more likely and prone to develop chilblains in hand and feet.

Your gender - The probability of getting chilblains are more likely in women than in men.

Being an underweight - Kids or person whose actual weight is approximately 20% percent less than the expected weight for their height, do have an increased risk of chilblains than normal peoples.

Surrounding environment and season - The probability of getting chilblains in colder and drier regions are very less because they are used to that atmosphere and also their atmospheric temperatures.

This type of temperature is more common from the month of November - April.

Having poor blood circulation - People with poor blood circulation in blood vessels tend to be more sensitive to the regular changes in temperature making them more prone and susceptible to chilblains.

Having Raynaud’s disease - Renault disease is a condition in which some areas of the body feel numb and cold in certain circumstances.

Due to this phenomenon smaller blood vessels that supply but to the skin constrict excessively in response to Cold temperature, limiting blood supply to the affected area.

Either condition can result in the formation of sores but Reynaud’s causes different types of color changes on the skin.

Having an autoimmune disorder - Autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets the body’s own cells and tissues.

As a result, recovering from chilblains becomes difficult for people having autoimmune disorders.

Complications in chilblains

  • Painful skin blisters developing on the skin
  • Ulcers and infection forming on the skin
  • Pimple infections that are potentially life-threatening if left untreated
  • Scarring of skin
  • Permanent discoloration of the skin

It is advisable to see a doctor if you suspect infections or else’s or else it would be life-threatening for you.

Prevention of chilblain

To prevent chilblain:

  • Completely avoid all you meet your exposure to cold weather and temperature.
  • Dress in layers of clothing and wear mittens and warm, water-resistance footwear. Avoid your footwear to get wet by external weather.
  • Try to keep your hands, feet, and face dry and warm. Avoid yourself by getting wet frequent.
  • Keep your home and workplace comfortably warm rather than keeping it's soggy and damp.
  • If your skin is kept too cold, it's helpful to warm it timely because sudden rewarming of cold skin may make chilblains worse.
  • Don’t smoke

Diagnosis of chilblain

Generally, it not necessarily needed to see your doctor for the diagnosis of chilblains. If you do visit your doctor, he or she will be only able to diagnose your skin condition by looking at it and talking with you about any recent cold exposure, your skin type and the reaction of your skin to cold.

The exam might also include checking your blood circulation.

Treatment of chilblain

The important part of treatment for the chilblains generally includes basic measures to keep hands and feet warm and dry, or by keeping your indoor environment warm and dry and not letting get it wet and soggy,


  • Nephedipine-Nephedipine is a medication used to manage angina, high blood pressure, Raynaud's phenomenon, and premature labor. 
  • A topical corticosteroid- Applying a corticosteroid cream such as chilblains may help the lesions go away. Corticosteroid is synthetic medications that may be used for treating skin conditions such as rash, dermatitis, itching, eczema, and. Topical corticosteroids are used based on their potential, the area of the body to which they will be put on, and the type of skin condition being treated.

Home remedies

Symptoms of Chilblains usually clear up in the span of one to three weeks after cold exposure returns to normal. In the meanwhile time, you can take steps to ease your pain, signs, and symptoms, including:

  • Rewarming the affected skin very gently, without massaging, vigorously rubbing or applying direct heat
  • Avoiding cold exposure whenever possible by using gloves and socks.
  • Applying lotion to alleviate itching, burn and skin crapping.
  • Making sure the affected skin is cleaned with an antiseptic lotion and gently bandaged to prevent the infection.
  • Avoiding skin scratching or it may lead to an infection.

Preparing for an appointment-

Most people having chilblains don't really need to visit a doctor. If you're in a pain or suspect you might have an infection, see your primary health care doctor. He or she may only suggest treatment or refer you to a doctor who is specialized in skin disorders (dermatologist) or blood circulatory disorders (cardiologist).

What can you do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • Symptoms that you've noticed, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you have scheduled the appointment
  • Keep personal information, including any major stresses, recent life changes or vacations to different climates.
  • All medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor
  • For chilblains, some main questions to ask your doctor include:
  • What're the most likely reasons for my symptoms?
  • What are the other possible causes?
  • Do he/she need any tests?
  • Is this condition temporary or is it long-lasting?
  • Which treatments are available, and what do you recommend?
  • What are the side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • What are the other alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Do I need to stop any of my activities in any way?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them all together?
  • Do you have any pamphlets or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend for me?

What to expect from your doctor

  • Your doctor is can ask you a number of questions, such as:
  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms of chilblains?
  • Do your symptoms get worse in response to the quick changes in temperature from hot and cold?
  • Does anything seem to improvise your symptoms?
  • Have you ever seen these symptoms before?
  • Have you been diagnosed with Raynaud's disease?


  • Do chilblains always itch?

Chilblains are small pictures swellings on the skin associated with continuous exposure to cold.

  • Can chilblains be dangerous?

Chilblains are not as dangerous as frostbite but it can cause long-term tissue damage.

  • Can Raynaud’s cause chilblains?  

Many people with Reynaud develop chilblains so there is a probability that Renault is associated with the occurrence of chilblains.

  • Why do I suddenly have Raynaud?

Raynaud’s usually triggered by cold temperature, anxiety or stress.

  • Can you sleep with socks on?

It not only helps you fall asleep faster but also provides various health benefits.

  • Chilblains and Raynaud’s hereditary?

Chilblains and Raynaud phenomenon are usually a sign of hereditary protein C and S deficiencies.

  • Do chilblains peel?

Children are small itchy red patches that can appear after you have been in the cold. They usually clear up or peal up on their own.

  • Which cream is good for chilblains?

Calamine cream and witch hazel are both soothing and cooling. It can be used for treating symptoms of chilblain.

  • Can poor circulation cause itching?

Feet are very prone to poor blood circulation which can be a common cause of itchiness in the feet.

  • What can you do for Poor circulation in your feet?

Stop smoking cigarettes, exercise regularly and elevate your legs while sleeping.

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