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Chilblains Overview

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Chilblains Overview

Chilblains are also known as also known as pernio, Chill Burns and perniosis, It is a medical condition that a  painful inflammation of small blood vessels on skin which occurs in response to repeated exposure to cold , humidity causing tissue damage. Thought Chilblains are  idiopathic, but sometimes serious conditions may associated with it which need to be investigated.

Chilblains in infants, together with severe neurologic disease and unexplained fevers, can be seen in Aicardi–Goutières syndrome, a rare inherited condition.


  • The only known exact reason for chilblains are abnormal reaction of body to cold exposure followed by rewarming.

Signs and symptoms

  • Blistering
  • Burning and itching sensation in extremities
  • Dermatitis in extremities
  • In severe cases Digital ulceration can be seen
  • Erythema
  • Pain
  • Skin discoloration, red to dark blue
  • Swelling of skin
  • Small, itchy red areas on skin

Risk factors associated with chilblains are

  • Women are more likely to get chilblains than are children and males
  • People with Raynaud’s disease are more susceptible to chilblains.
  • Poor blood circulation
  • People living in cold and humidity areas are more prone to disease.


Complications related to chilblains are only if one having skin blisters. If that happens, one may develop ulcers and infections. Besides being painful, If it is untreated infections are potentially life-threatening .One should Consult the doctor if one suspect infection.


Diagnosis is done based on symptoms and medical history

  • Skin biopsy, to rule out other causes for your signs and symptoms.
  • Checking blood circulation is also done.


  • A course of Vit B, especially nicotinic acid, will assist in improving circulation and may completely treat the chilblains.
  • Nifedipine, a vasodilator, may be used in more severe or recurrent cases
  • Diltiazem, a vasodilator, may also be used
  • Keep affected dry
  • Topical steroids creams are helpful in relieving pain

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