They can be uncomfortable rarely cause any permanent damage. They will normally heal within a couple of weeks if further exposure to the cold is avoided.
The majority of sufferers develop Chilblains in the winter due to the low temperatures. They are especially common in the UK because damp and cold weather is the norm during the winter months
The low temperatures cause a restriction of a small branch of artery leading to the capillaries which supply blood to the skin. When the skin is warmed quickly this can lead to blistering, redness and itchy lesions.
If you have poor circulation or if you work in an environment where you are regularly exposed to cold and damp conditions you may be more likely to develop Chilblains.
Chilblains usually don’t require any treatment as the symptoms often get better on their own after a week or two.
Occasionally Chilblains can reoccur or become severe which puts you at risk of developing further problems. There is a small chance that an infection can develop from the blistered or scratched skin which can then lead to permanent scarring. In the most severe cases, ulcers may develop on the skin which can cause pain when moving.
To avoid complications such as these it is advisable not to directly overheat the area and to try to refrain from itching or scratching the skin.
If you think you may have an infection it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Your Podiatrist will be able to apply dressings and prescribe antibiotics if required.
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