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Chilblains

cold, circulation and blood

CHILBLAINS —Flat or nodular swellings and elevations, which at the onset itch greatly, and are often very painful. They are due to paralyses and dilatations of the blood-vessels, resulting from a disturbance of the circulation of blood in the skin under the influence of low temperatures. Chilblains develop especially on projecting parts of the body, such as the nose, ears, fingers, toes, and knuckles. They cause the affected parts to lose their pliability ; the heavy, irregular bruises become bluish, red, smooth, and glistening (as if varnished), and sometimes the formation of moist vesicles is noted. A continued disturbance of circulation gives rise to sores, fissures, and crusts, from which ulcers may develop. It is a mistake to believe that chilblains can appear only when the temperature is below the freezing-point, as they may arise also without frost ; for instance, as a result of frequent washing in cold water. Deficient circulation of the blood favours their formation in such instances.

To prevent chilblains it is necessary to keep as warm as possible. Any

one with a tendency to cold hands and toes must not fail, in winter, to encourage the circulation of the blood by frequently bathing hands and feet in hot and in cold water alternatingly. This will tend to strengthen the muscles of the blood-vessel walls, the relaxation and numbness of which cause chilblains. Anyone suffering from cold feet should wear wide, comfortable shoes, and in winter thick, woollen stockings which extend above the knees (so-called hunting-stockings). Experience teaches that such stockings furnish the best protection. Pulse-warmers (wristlets) and mittens are better than the usual gloves, as the latter do not prevent the occurrence of chilblains. Persons prone to this affection in certain parts of the body should rub these parts several times a day with a piece of pure camphor, such as may be obtained in any drug-store. After chilblains have developed, a ro per cent. camphorated collodion should he painted on the affected parts with a brush. Remember that collodion is very inflammable.