Chilblains


Description: They are acral ulcers that occur when a predisposed individual is exposed to cold and humidity. Acral refers to the extremities (e.g. fingers and toes).

Persons most commonly affected: Both sexes but more common in females.

Organ or part of body involved: Skin

Symptoms and indications: The symptoms are Ulceration of the digits and toes; Itchy skin inflammation; Skin redness; Toe skin inflammation; Finger skin inflammation and Earlobe inflammation.

Causes and risk factors: Keeping your feet warm is an important way to prevent chilblains - use trousers, high top boots, tights, leg warmers and long, thick woollen socks. If your feet do get cold, allow them to warm up slowly - do not put them straight in front of a source of heat (this gives a chance for the circulation to respond to the warming skin). Do not let the feet become exposed to any source of direct heat (eg a heater), especially if the foot is very cold - this is a common factor causing chilblains. Smoking also interferes with the circulation in the small blood vessels and increases the risk of getting chilblains.

Prevention: Keeping your feet warm is an important way to prevent chilblains - use trousers, high top boots, tights, leg warmers and long, thick woollen socks. If your feet do get cold, allow them to warm up slowly - do not put them straight in front of a source of heat (this gives a chance for the circulation to respond to the warming skin). Do not let the feet become exposed to any source of direct heat (eg a heater), especially if the foot is very cold - this is a common factor causing chilblains. Smoking also interferes with the circulation in the small blood vessels and increases the risk of getting chilblains.

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