Chilblains, also known as trench foot, is a skin condition in which the feet become wet and cold, resulting in frost bite like symptoms and significant pain upon the reheating of the extremity. Chilblains are not just related to the feet though and can be found on any and all body parts. This is a painful condition, but not typically fatal.
Causes & Symptoms of Chilblains
Chilblains is most commonly diagnosed in those individuals who have been out playing or working for a short period without getting so cold that they freeze but getting cold enough to do damage. Chilblain is most commonly diagnosed by its characteristic redness and swelling around the affected area. Other signs of Chilblains include small bumps on an individual or change in sensation from the individual. If the individual thought that an action was ticklish one moment and then felt that the same action was painful after exposure to the elements, then may have a good case for Chilblains.
Preventing Chilblains is simply a matter of keeping those extremities warm and dry. This is done by limiting the amount of time that one is out in a cold and wet day. This limiting can greatly increase their productivity and teach them to live by moderations. Preventing chilblains can also be a method as easy as repairing or replacing the shoes if outdoor activity persists. By replacing or repairing the shoes, the individual can be completely protected from the elements or at least limit the damage that these elements can do. Other methods of preventing Chilblains include wrapping the feet in multiple layers of socks to prevent the cold and moisture from getting into the shoes.
Chilblains Treatment Advice
Treating chilblains is easier than one would expect it to be. The primary treatment is to slowly warm up the feet and surrounding area of the individual. To warm up the location too quickly means to make the pain worse. Too heat up the location too slow will cause the pain less will not allow for proper healing. It is better to heat the area quickly but carefully. Once the initial treatment for the Chilblains is completed, the secondary treatments can begin. This includes caring for the small blisters or bumps that can be associated with chilblains. This treatment typically includes cleaning the area frequently to avoid any infection from any of the open sores that are formed as the blisters pop and heal.
While it is far better to avoid getting chilblains, a chilblain is easy to treat and is not considered life threatening. If the extremity gets so cold as to freeze, then frostbite has set in and the cells have been killed. The chances of frostbite being reversed are slim, but have been known to happen. Avoiding frostbite and chilblains is simply a matter of observation and preparation. If one sees that the weather is very cold and wet, one might consider wearing shoes and gloves as well as other protective clothing to help to limit the chances of chilblains and frostbite.