How To Treat Chilblains at Home: Symptoms & Remedies

Everyone loves Winter as it gives cool breath and fantastic weather. But it is also the time of the year when risks of health ailments are higher including flu, colds, and swelling like Chilblains. The low temperature of the season makes hands and feet go numb, cold, and frozen. Exposing the body to cold temperatures can cause Chilblains.

Herbal Supplements for Chilblains Symptoms

Chilblains look like swollen red lumps on the foot and fingers that are itchy and painful. You need warmth from a hot shower, drinking hot water, or an electric blanket.

Though Chilblains can be treated in the home. It is best to keep you away from the risks of getting it in the first place.

Even if you are prone to the risks, luckily chilblains rarely need treatments as they are not serious until you did not scratch them and increased infection. The most important thing you can do to treat chilblains is to stop yourself from rubbing or scratching the affected area. Though it is itchy and tempting you to do so, it could cause skin breaks as you scratch on swollen areas.

If you keep scratching it will break the skin and there are high chances that your nails increase infection. The best treatment is to not disturb the swollen fingers and toes and get warm blood flowing. How to treat Chilblains at home? Let’s see precautions here.

  • First and foremost, it is critical to keep the body warm and cover prone areas by wearing gloves and socks that keep fingers and toes warm. Also, wear jackets, scarves, and hats to keep the rest of the body warm.
  • If you are very sensitive to cold and infections, chilblains can occur even with minimal exposure to cold so be sure you are safe enough.
  • Cigarette smoking can aggravate chilblains.

As already said, chilblains usually don’t require medical treatment, but if your chilblains do not reduce in time, become worsen, developed into wounds, or started swelling very badly, you should seek medical advice and treatment. For most serious cases of chilblains, medication is given to improve blood supply to fingers and toes.

What are Chilblains?

Chilblains are also called erythema pernio. These are small itchy swellings and burning sensations on the skin that can be very itchy and painful. Usually, chilblains are caused by cold weather when our capillaries shrink to maintain the warmth of the blood to our bodies and left open the skin where heat is lost.

When warm the feet again quickly, this can cause fluid leakage and blood leakage to the toes which leads to chilblains. The blood and fluid in the tissue create redness, irritation, and an itchy feeling, and sometimes it leads to breakdown that becomes a small ulcer prone to infection.

Who is more prone to getting Chilblains?

  • People who are at risk of getting chilblains are listed below.
  • Cigarette smoking can lead to arteries shrinking and peripheral arterial disease. So people who smoke a lot are most likely to get chilblains.
  • If you have connective tissue disorders like lupus, you are prone to chilblains.
  • People who have Raynaud’s syndrome are also at the risk.
  • If your family has a history of chilblains, it may affect you too.
  • Diabetic patients who are struggling with poor blood circulation also catch chilblains.
  • If you miss covering your feet and fingers when spending time outdoors, you are near to getting one.

What are the Symptoms of Chilblains?

Symptoms and signs of chilblains include discolored patches of skin on the toes and fingers. It may appear on the legs and ears too. The symptoms often associated with chilblains are:

  • itching
  • burning
  • pain
  • swelling
  • tenderness
  • blistering
  • redness
  • numbness
  • bleeding lesions

The affected areas may become blue when getting swollen and congested.

Chilblains usually last for a week or two and can be reduced with the right treatment. It occurs on the extremities like gingers, toes, ears, nose, and bony areas.

When the swelling dries out, it leaves cracks in the skin which may attract infection. 

How Chilblains are diagnosed?

The above symptoms and signs can help you find out if you get chilblains. However, if you see a doctor, they can usually diagnose chilblains with a physical examination. They will ask you certain questions about the causes of getting the symptoms like when did you expose to the cold recently.

If the swelling or infection looks serious, they may decide to do a biopsy of the affected area. It involves taking a small tissue sample from the area and looking at it in the microscope for signs of other skin conditions such as skin cancer.

People who are often prone to chilblains can easily identify them. But if you never had them before or if you feel it is not usual, it is best to consult a doctor and make sure it is only an infection not something serious like vasculitis or cold urticaria.

How To Treat Chilblains at Home?

The main cause of chilblains is poor blood circulation. You can combat this by intaking foods that help improve blood circulation. Some of the spices you can include in your foods and drinks for chilblains are:

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Onion

Read More: Best Herbs to Improve Blood Circulation

Aside from the spices, your body needs essential fatty acids for blood vessel integrity and circulatory health. Try to add sesame seeds, almonds, and oats to your diet which have these essential fatty acids.

A B vitamin called niacin is often consumed for better circulation to the minor capillaries. So if you can take vitamin supplements under medical supervision.

As chilblains are more likely to affect bone areas, try to add calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and K, and fiber-rich foods. If your body tolerates supplements, you can them as supplementary capsules too.

The other home remedy you can do is wear proper footwear. Cotton, bamboo, or woolen socks and canvas or leather shoes are the best choices for winter. Try to avoid walking in barefoot.

Make sure you prepared your living space for the winter with room heaters and warm floor rugs.

Exercise can also be a good part of the best home treatments for chilblains. It helps in the improvement of blood circulation and keeps the body warm. With simple exercises, you can elevate the body temperature and normalize blood flow. Start with some cardiovascular exercises as they have more benefits.

  1. Stand with your legs apart and point the arms horizontally.
  2. Jump and keep arms to the sides and legs together.
  3. Now, jump and move the arms and legs to the original position.
  4. Repeat the steps as many times as you can.

Best Home Remedies for Chilblains

Try the below home remedies to get relief from chilblains.

Control the urge or be tempted to scratch, it will break down the skin and leads to infections.

Wash the affected areas with warm water with salt. It soothes the itchiness, removes bad bacteria, and speeds up healing. It reduces redness and puffiness.

You can either wash or soak affected areas in this water. Water is should not be too hot otherwise it harms the skin.

Warm water treatment may not be suitable for diabetes as they may have neuropathy and mishandling of water temperature turns our severe skin burns.

Other people can do this treatment for a few minutes and repeat for several times a day to heal from chilblains.

If you can’t handle the itching, use calamine lotion or witch hazel to soothe the affected areas.

There are no specific medications that can completely cure chilblains in people who tend to have them regularly. Most of the treatments available or followed currently simply reduce the symptoms.

Before heading to use any home remedy or finding how to treat chilblains at home, you should make sure what you have is a chilblain. If you are new to the condition and not sure what it is, seek medical help from a podiatrist. They will examine the affected areas and tell you if it is a chilblain or something else. You can get the right treatment and remedies to get rid of chilblains.

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