People – Love Sunday
January 8, 2019
What are chilblains?
Winter is the time when we see more cases of Chilblains, as these small, itchy swellings on the skin occur as a reaction to cold temperatures. They most often affect the body’s extremities, such as the toes, fingers, heels, ears and nose. They rarely cause any damage, but can often be uncomfortable.
Who’s at risk?
Anyone can get chilblains, but generally people with poor circulation, those working outside in cold conditions or damp environments, people with a history in the family of chilblains, a low body weight, a poor diet and lupus (a long-term condition) are more prone to developing them. Smokers are also susceptible too, as nicotine constricts blood vessels.
When to worry?
Chilblains are usually easy to treat and not a major cause for concern, but infections can occur from blistered or scratched skin and lead to scarring of the skin. People with chilblains should consult their GP or Pharmacist if they are re-occurring or they think they have an infection.
How to avoid them?
There are many things people can do to prevent chilblains, but limiting exposure to the cold weather (and wrapping up well if in the cold) is a major one and keeping house well-heated (or the room you spend most time in)
Keeping active and making sure your circulation is good, can help alleviate Chilblains too.
Smokers should try and stop, so their blood vessels don’t constrict.
If you’ve been outside and your hand are cold, make sure not to warm them up too quickly to avoid causing chilblains
How to treat them?
Treatment is not always needed as Chilblains often get better on their own. Pharmacists are good at recommending products to help alleviate irritation like calamine lotion or witch hazel.
I’d always anyone with severe infected Chilblains or those who have them more frequently to speak to their GP.
They’d usually prescribe a tablet called Nifedinpine, which works by relaxing the blood vessels, improving your circulation.