Tips on how treat and prevent chilblains?

Any tips on how to prevent chilblains (other than preventing hands getting cold and warming up too quickly) and how to speed up healing?

I had chilblains on the fingers of my right hand and the knuckle of my left hand in late Nov. The fingers became itchy, inflamed, swollen and the skin discoloured red, purple and white and eventually the skin split and peeled. I had a course of antibiotics early Dec because it looked like there was infection. The skin hasn't completely healed yet and the chilblains seem to have flared again as the same fingers are itchy, red swelling and tender to touch the last couple of days. Clarityn is dealing with the itching.

Thank you.

31 Replies

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  • Hi They are one thing I dont suffer from but I looked on the net --try this lead

    home-remedies-for-you.com/r...

    Hope you can find something to ease the pain

    Good Luck

  • Thanks, PPf, some interesting remedies there. Not painful (yet), just tender/bruised. It looks as if the originals have flared up again. :(

  • Hi Clutter

    I used a great cream that helped mine. Used to get them on my fingers mostly but also my toes when I worked my Labradors in winter months - a country girl.

    I will go find it in the cupboard in the morning - insomnia rules. :) I got it from Boots but off top of my head Balmosa rings bells. That's all that's in my head - the bells - right now. :)

    Really painful and oh so itchy.

  • Thanks, Nickinoo.

  • As a preventive would wearing mittens help?

  • Gabkad, I'm hoping that will prevent future chilblains, just need to get rid of the existing perishers which I though were on the way out.

  • I don't even understand this chillblains business. We have minus minus freezer your face off over here and ?chillblains?...... What's the difference that in England, which is not this cold, chillblains happen? Or is it that we dress for the weather over here?

    We even have diehards riding bikes... with balaclavas on. Let them....gahhhh.

  • Gabkad, apparently they aren't common in very cold freezing dry conditions, it's cold and damp wot triggers them. Blood vessels dilate with cold and burst into surrounding tissue when warmed too quickly ie warming hands/feet on radiators and hot water bottles, neither of which I did.

  • Clutter, is it possible you're undermedicated? While googling, I found this interesting letter to the BMJ written in 1952(!): ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

    Then I found something about taking Vitamin B3, which led me to this: beamingwithhealth.com.au/co... which I think is worth posting for the comments in the "other" category alone - penile frostbite sounds terrible... :-o

  • Jazzw, definitely not undermedicated. Thanks, I'll check the links later.

  • I always have them! I use a topical steroid cream and it helps.

    Is it also related to thyroid condition?

  • Thank you, Missy. I think it is more to do with poor circulation than thyroid.

  • Try the old-fashioned remedy SNOWFIRE(obtainable from Amazon) I have a friend who gets terrible chilblains and she swears by it!)

  • Thanks, Wedgewood. I'll have a look on Amazon.

  • Hi clutter

    My daughter has lupus so gets chronic chilblains

    If they are not broken she rubs a little deep heat on them and this seems to help she sometimes rubs deep heat on her toes as prevention if it's very cold

    she was told by someone that weeing on them helps

    She did this once in desperation but it didn't make much difference and she couldn't face doing it again

    There is a drug that the hospital gave her if they get very bad she lost all her toenails once they are patches I think they were called nifedipine they are also used to treat heart problems I think

    they did work but she had terrible headaches as side effect

    When I went to finland last year she also told me that your socks must not be to tight on your feet because if they cant wiggle your toes they will get cold knitted ones are best and she hates ski socks as she said that they fit you snuggley no wriggle room as designed to go in skis

    Hope that helps

  • Thanks Rush, I'm hoping to find alternative remedies to peeing on them and Nifetidine, both a bit extreme :-D Feet are happy in woollen hiking socks, it's a little harder with fingers.

  • How about trying Thinsulate gloves. I bought some for my son in The Works just before Christmas.

  • JBee, I'm wearing fingerless gloves with mitten covers but its so difficult to keep your fingers covered all the time. At least these appear to be a flare up of the old ones and aren't new chilblains.

  • Thinsulate ones are lined in a thin fleece and are easy to get on or off.

  • I used to cry with chilblains as a child growing up during the war. My mum used to fill my socks with crushed onions at bedtime - other weird remedies then included using pee! I always understood it was a lack of calcium and, with good diet and multivitamins, they rarely come back, only if hands or feet get wet and cold.

  • Thanks, Polaris. Pee seems to be an old remedy. I read about calcium and vitD on another forum. Vit D is very high but no idea about calcium. Flipping endo isn't testing calcium profile until May.

  • I cured my son's chilblains with horse chestnut and red vine tablets. He only ever had them once, they never came back.

  • Thanks, GG. I'll look out for them too.

  • :)

  • Hi Clutter,

    Have you tried tea tree oil? I'm not sure how to treat chilblains but tea tree oil is good for healing wounds and you can get a tea tree oil cream from Holland & Barrett, I think it's Nelson's brand. Or you could make your own hand cream with coconut oil. Gently melt some in a pan and add a few drops of tea tree oil, let it cool and return to a solid form, and then rub small amounts into your hands or just your fingers.

    TT xx.

  • Thank you, TT. Another good idea, moisturising may help prevent the skin splitting and peeling.

  • My 10 year old son had a spate of chilblains on his feet last year. We found bathing them in warm water with epsom salts worked a treat for both stopping the itching and getting rid of them. I think it stemmed from wearing socks in bed restricting circulation. Can't guarantee they won't come back but epsom salts are definitely great for healing them.

  • Thanks, Samru. That sounds worth a try too.

  • My Mum had chilblains (luckily I don't suffer) is it a Thyroid-related thing?

  • I don't think so, Spare. This is the first time I've had them and I'm optimally medicated now. In fact, that may even be the problem, because I wasn't freezing to death I wasn't wearing gloves in November et voila, Chilblains :(

  • fair point

    - or possibly, like me, you cannot distinguish between feeling warm or cool (mine's due to parasthesia/numbness but also could be just forgetting the feeling - does that make sense?

    I used to say my thermostat was broken & would come home from work with white fingers - and just had to wash up (to warm them up). :D

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