Do you get red, itchy and swollen toes in winters? Does your problem subside as soon as the weather gets warm only to recur in next winter? You are suffering from what we dermatologist call as “Chilblains or Perniosis”. The treatment of chilblains consists of improving the stagnant blood flow in your swollen and itchy toes. This is done by avoiding rapid changes in temperature of hands and feet by using tips, products and home remedies listed below.

TIP 1: Avoid rapid change in temperature

Contrary to popular belief on keeping hands and feet warm, I would rather lay more stress on avoiding rapid change of temperature. This so because your body is unable to adapt to changes in temperature outside at the average pace. In normal circumstances, on heating blood flow increases with dilatation of blood vessels and on cold stimulus, the blood flow decreases with narrowing of vessels. In your case on heating, the blood flow increases, but blood vessels fail to dilate to accommodate increase blood flow termed as “bottleneck effect”. The excess blood seeps out of capillaries leading to swelling and itching.

So, avoid rapid cooling, for example, when you unknowingly take your gloves out on a cold windy day, or you dip your hand in cold water. Avoid rapid heating by exposing your itchy toes to a strong heat source. Instead, re-warm gradually by dipping your hands and feet in warm (not hot) water before wearing gloves and socks.

TIP 2: Use the following Products

Did you know some products can stop the itching in your toes? You might even get a good night sleep or concentrate more on your work with following two products:

Tip 3: Try this home remedy

You must try this home remedies that not only improves circulations but also provides warmth. For details click, DERMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED HOME REMEDIES FOR CHILBLAINS 

TIP 4: Protect your hands and feet from dryness and trauma

Dryness triggers chilblains and moisturiser provides insulation and prevents heat loss. Thus, always put thick moisturiser several times in a day.  Keep a petrolatum jelly, coconut oil or any thick cream handy and apply it each time you feel dryness or stretch in your hands or feet. Secondly, avoid trauma by avoiding tight or loose fitting shoes.

TIP 5: Keep your body warm

Remember that wearing gloves and socks will not help unless the core body temperature is also warm. Here are some suggestions:

  • Wear warm clothing: Several layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing provide better protection than single thick one. Do not forget to cover your head, ears, neck and hand and feet as well.
  • Eat warm meals.
  • Add more spices like ginger, black pepper, thyme, turmeric to your meal or make a tea using these herbs. They help in warming up your body and improve circulation.
  • Avoid cold drinks and cold and raw food like salads.

TIP 6: Improve blood circulation

Well, the key issue of chilblains is stagnant blood flow, thus, exercise regularly or engage in some physical activity to improve the blood circulation. Quit smoking and alcohol that can further impede blood flow. Did you know that abdominal breathing also helps in improving your circulation? How about raising your abdomen in and out as you breathe? Try it now!

Tip 7: Consult Doctor

Consultation with a doctor is needed if the chilblains get worse despite taking above measure or if you develop blisters, ulcers or infection. The dermatologist might prescribe you:

  • Topical Nitroglycerine: This has been used recently to provide good results. It helps by dilating the vessels and improving peripheral circulation.
  • Oral Nifedipine is often used, but it can cause a headache and dizziness as side effects.
  • Pentoxyphyline works by improving circulation and is well tolerated.
  • Steroid creams are used, only if you have associated eczema.
  • Topical and oral antibiotics are given if you have signs of infection in the form of severe pain, pus discharge or fever.

Let me remind you again, the key to relieving itchy swollen toes is avoiding rapid changes in temperature. You should give a try to products listed below!

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