Have painful, itchy and swollen toes? Dermatologist Dr Syed shares ways to avoid them in winters
Chilblains can cause the skin to become sore and bumpy because of exposure to the cold weather. Here is everything you need to know about this medical condition.
The painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to repeated exposure to cold but not freezing air is known as Chilblains, often known as Pernio. They can cause itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on your hands and feet.
If the weather gets warmer Chilblains take one to three weeks to clear up. It may often happen repetitive times, seasonally for years. You can treat yourself by applying lotions to prevent symptoms. The outcome of Chilblains is not a permanent injury. If not taken care, it can lead to inflammation, which may harm if left untreated.
An abnormal reaction to a cold atmosphere causes chilblains. The people who develop chilblains last for several months every winter. Blood vessels near the surface get narrower when the skin gets cold. The blood vessels become wider when the skin is exposed to heat. These vessels near the surface of the skin can't always handle the rise in blood flow if this happens too quickly. The swelling and itchiness associated with chilblains may take place because of blood leakage into the surrounding tissue caused by the rise in blood flow.
People with these conditions are more prone to chilblains than others:
1. People with poor blood flow.
2. A family history of chilblains (genetics).
3. Regular exposure to cold, damp or draughty conditions.
4. Low body weight or a poor diet.
5. Lupus-It is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your tissues and organs.
6. Raynaud's phenomenon- It affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually the fingers and toes.
Smokers are more at risk of chilblains as nicotine constricts blood vessels.
A bunion or a toe is more prone to chilblains as they are exposed to pressure.
Chilblains evolve sometime after exposure to the cold. The burning and itchiness in the affected areas can go more extreme if exposed to warm places.
The affected area may turn dark blue or red and swell as the surface of the skin can start tearing and sores or blisters can develop in severe cases. Therefore, it is advised for you not to scratch your skin as it can get infected easily.
Changing damp gloves and socks should be needed as you need to keep your hands and feet dry. Keeping yourself indoors can also help you keep your hands and feet dry.
Dermatologist Dr Syed recommends the following medications or more according to the condition:
1. Nifedipine (Procardia): This opens up blood vessels and improves blood flow to treat chilblains as it is a blood pressure medication.
2. A Topical Corticosteroid: If you apply a corticosteroid cream to chilblains, it may help the lesions go away.