Itchy, painful, reddish-purple swellings on the fingers or toes

  • More common in children and elderly people
  • Gender, genetics, and lifestyle are not significant factors

Chilblains result from excessive narrowing of blood vessels under the skin in cold weather. The reddish-purple swellings, which most commonly affect the fingers and toes, are painful when they are exposed to cold and are intensely itchy once the skin has become warm again.

Chilblains usually disappear without treatment but may recur. Children and elderly or inactive people in particu-lar should wear sufficient clothing, including gloves, socks, and a hat, to keep warm and help to prevent chilblains from developing. If you are susceptible to chilblains and are exposed to cold weather, taking exercise may encourage blood flow to your hands and feet.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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