Chilblains are the painful inflammation of the
small bloodvessels in the skin. They occur in
response when the skin is suddenly warmed after
exposure to cold temperatures. This inflammation
causes red patches, itching, swelling and even
blistering of the skin.
Chilblains typically occur on the toes, fingers,
ears and nose. The changes in skin color range
from red to purple and even blue. The pain and
itching may be intense. Blisters may form that
result in skin defects (ulcers) that are usually
slow in healing.
is the cause of chilblains?
of chilblains is not exactly known. The may be an
abnormal reaction of the vessels and the
immunesystem to exposure to cold temperatures and
subsequent rewarming of the skin. Being
underweight and having a poor circulation may be
additional risk factors.
To reduce the risk of developing chilblains,
persons at risk should avoid exposure to (extreme)
cold whenever possible. If it happens that the
skin was exposed try to warm the skin gradually,
but keep away from sources of heat. These may
increase the problems rather than eleviate them.
Clean skin defects with antiseptic and bandage
them properly. If you suspect infection of the
skin it is important to consult your doctor.