Dermal Cold Effects Chilblains

Chilblains (erythema pernio) are a superficial tissue injury that occurs after prolonged or ongoing intermittent exposures to temperatures above freezing and with high humidity and winds. Chilblains can occur with temperatures between 0°C (32°F) and 12.8°C (55°F). Exposure lasting for hours can cause this condition. It usually does not cause permanent damage, but acutely there can be local soreness, swelling, redness and itching. If recurrent, blistering and skin damage can occur (32,33).

Treatment is removal from the cool environment and/or protection from the exposure. Rewarming is needed to prevent progression to deeper tissue injuries. Following rewarming, there may be increased redness and itching. The effects are usually self-limiting (33,34).

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