Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Chilblains usually clear up in one to three weeks after cold exposure. In the meantime, you can take steps to ease your signs and symptoms, including:

  • Rewarming affected skin gently, without massaging, rubbing or applying direct heat
  • Avoiding cold exposure whenever possible
  • Keeping your affected skin dry and warm, but away from sources of heat
  • Applying lotion to alleviate itching
  • Making sure the affected skin is cleaned with an antiseptic and gently bandaged to prevent infection
  • Avoiding scratching

Prevention

To prevent chilblains:

  • Avoid or limit your exposure to cold.
  • Dress in layers of loose clothing and wear mittens and warm, water-resistant footwear.
  • Cover all exposed skin as completely as possible when going outside in cold weather.
  • Keep your hands, feet and face dry and warm.
  • Keep your home and workplace comfortably warm.
  • Don't smoke.

If your skin is exposed to cold, it's helpful to rewarm it gradually because sudden rewarming of cold skin may worsen chilblains.

Dec. 10, 2015
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Chilblains. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Kroshinsky D. Pernio (chilblains). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 6, 2015.
  3. Danzl DF. Nonfreezing tissue injuries. Merck Manuals Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/cold-injury/nonfreezing-tissue-injuries. Accessed Oct. 6, 2015.
  4. Winter weather frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/faq.asp#frostbite. Accessed Oct. 14, 2015.
  5. Bope ET, et al. Physical and chemical injuries. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2015. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015.
  6. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Cold injuries. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 6, 2012.
  7. Prakask S, et al. Idiopathic chilblains. The American Journal of Medicine. 2009;122:1152.
  8. Tintinalli JE, et al. Frostbite and other localized cold injuries. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011.
  9. Cappel JA, et al. Clinical characteristics, etiologic associations, laboratory findings, treatment and proposal of diagnostic criteria of pernio (chilblains) in a series of 104 patients at Mayo Clinic, 2000 to 2011. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2014;89:207.
  10. Chilblains. Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. http://www.scpod.org/foot-health/common-foot-problems/chilblains/. Accessed Oct. 15, 2015.