Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Old Fashioned Ailment- Chilblains - And how to cure it

I love reading books about the past.  My favorites are fiction that was actually written at that time like books from Jane Austin, LJ Montgomery, or diaries from the past.  One thing I had read about several times is the condition called Chilblains.  The definition from the Mayo Clinic is below.


Chilblains (CHILL-blayns) are the painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to sudden warming from cold temperatures. Also known as pernio, chilblains can cause itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on extremities, such as on your toes, fingers, ears and nose.
Chilblains may get better on its own, especially as the weather gets warmer. Chilblains usually clear up within one to three weeks, though they may recur seasonally for years. Treatments typically consist of lotions and medication. While Chilblains don't usually result in permanent injury, they can lead to infection, which may cause severe damage if left untreated.
The best approach to chilblains is to avoid developing them by limiting your exposure to cold, dressing warmly and covering exposed skin.
I never thought I would actually use my knowledge of chilblains in my life!  However our youngest son was having problems with his little toes swelling up and becoming painful and red or purple.  I was concerned and took him to the doctor about it.  I mentioned I thought it could be chilblains because the condition only happened in winter and went away when he would take a warm bath, but she insisted having other tests done.  Well the tests came back normal, but the swelling and pain continued.
So I did research on the net about how to care for chilblains and what causes it.  The cause is not the cold itself, but the change from warm to cold too rapidly.  Like getting out of a warm bed into a cold house.  Which is why people suffered from it much more in the past when houses were heated exclusively with wood.  The best way to cure it is to keep the body part affected in a warm temperature that doesn't fluctuate as much as possible.  We tried keeping socks on our little man, but he still had the chilblains.  And he wouldn't wear slippers at all.  So I decided to try wool socks.  They are much thicker and warmer than standard sock, but still thin enough that it doesn't bother him.  I bought a brand online called smart wool that are made to be washable.  They are also extremely well made and durable.  He has been wearing them all winter and they still are in good condition.  Within two days of wearing them his chilblains were gone!
I actually want to buy myself some of these socks because they look so cozy.  He loves them and calls them his special socks.
Here are his toes, at times they even turn purple.  You can see the pinkie is very red and the toe next to the big toe is swollen.

The wools socks as I got them


Comfy warm footsies!





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