"Chilblains" is the term used to describe the reddening and swelling of skin, usually of your hands and feet in cold weather. When the affected body part begins to warm up after being outside, the blood vessels do not respond properly and can become inflamed. Chilblains can hurt, itch, burn and show signs of blistering into open sores. Topical and oral medications can help get rid of chilblains.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Prescription skin cream
- Oral medications
- Ginkgo biloba
Get rid of the red, swollen patches of skin that are characteristic of chilblains with a prescription skin cream or lotion. A 2-week course of corticosteroid creams is usually given to treat painful, itchy symptoms.
Take oral medications to treat chilblains. Speak to your doctor about using an analgesic or anti-inflammatory, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain control. Open up constricted blood vessels that may be causing the problem with a drug called "nifedipine."
Try an alternative route for getting rid of chilblains by taking Ginkgo biloba under the guidance of your doctor. According to NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), Ginkgo biloba is an ingredient in many commercial skin products and may lend its healing properties to chilblains. The herb is also available for oral use in the form of tablets or teas.
Clean and bandage any open wounds or raw skin caused by blisters that are the result of chilblains. Keeping the sores covered reduces the risk of infection, which can slow the healing process.
Tips and warnings
- Wear several warm layers in the winter and limit your time out in cold weather to prevent chilblains from developing. Keep fingers and toes warm and dry by wearing a moisture-wicking sock or glove beneath a warmer pair of socks and mittens.
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