A chilblain is a condition of redness or blueness due to swelling of the skin followed by itching. This results due to exposure of the skin to cold or chilly weather and dampness in the climate causing the prickly feeling along with numbness. Chilblains are also referred to as pernio or perniosis and occur usually in the winter. However, people living in dry conditions do not face this problem. Sometimes the swelling occurs long after the skin is exposed to hours of cold temperate climate. The symptoms for Chilblain are similar to those of frostbite.
The areas affected are the fingers, earlobes, nose and toes since they are the ones most exposed to the cold. It could also affect the legs and the thighs. Children and old people are more prone to this type of conditions during the cold climate and this causes the freezing of the cells in the body. Also people who have a tendency to fall for allergies can suffer from Chilblains. This condition is called vasoconstriction where the blood supply in the vessels decreases, thus decreasing the oxygen to the body and causing damage to the tissues, further leading to blisters.
A chilblain in some cases is hereditary. However, simple precautions can be taken to prevent the condition or lessen the pain and swelling.
One should avoid damp conditions as this causes and aggravates Chilblains. The affected areas should not be scratched at the surface as this leads to more problems. A sudden change in temperature aggravates the problem, so the skin should not be brought very near to the fire while trying to protect oneself from the cold.
The hands and body should be kept warm with gloves and other necessary woolens during the cold to avoid swelling. A person could do some brisk walking or light exercise to warm up the body before stepping out of the house into the cold weather. One should go in for regular health check ups to keep a check on the hormonal changes and tissue disorders and go in for the appropriate medication.
Anemic people are prone to Chilblains and should undergo the relevant treatment. A regular and balanced diet is important as malnutrition could also result in Chilblains.
Few marigold flowers can be boiled in a large quantity of water and salt can be added to it. The affected hand and feet areas can then be soaked in it for a few minutes. Nifedipine can be applied to ease the blood vessels and get some relief. A massage with hot oil, especially sesame oil is recommended during the winter to ease the pain.
Onion juice may be applied on the affected areas to ease the itching. Calamine lotion can be applied on the affected areas as it decreases the swelling. Lastly, active smokers should quit smoking as this decreases the blood supply in the vessels thus aggravating the problem.
Chilblains should not be ignored and should be treated immediately as it could lead to grave consequences. Sometimes the blisters could even leads to ulcers.