Watch out for chilblains!

We all love enjoying winter and getting out in the snow. 

But this can expose us to freezing temperatures and cold, windy conditions that make certain body parts, particularly extremities like the nose, forehead, cheeks, toes, and fingers, vulnerable to chilblains.

Chilblains are not to be taken lightly. The physical signs are pale, discolored skin that hardens and looks waxy as it becomes more frozen. People with chilblains feel pain, pins and needles, or numbness. Blisters may appear several hours after exposure. If chilblains have reached this degree of severity, it is important to consult a physician immediately to assess their seriousness and determine the appropriate treatment.

Some measures often taken against chilblains can actually cause further skin damage. You should never rub or massage the affected area, heat it using very hot water, or pop any blisters that have formed. You should, however, gradually warm the affected area using warm water or contact with a warm area (for example, by putting your hands in your armpits).

Above all, remember that chilblains are no laughing matter. Prevention is the best medicine: make sure to wear the right winter clothing to stay warm at all times.

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