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a special form of frostbite in which the skin is injured by prolonged and repeated exposure to cold and dampness. Chilblain usually affects the nose, cheeks, hands, and ears; less commonly, it affects the feet, legs, and buttocks. It is characterized by limited or diffuse, reddish cyanotic patches that are swollen, hardened, cold to the touch, and painful when pressed. Chilblain is usually accompanied by an itching, burning sensation; pain arises if the affected area is warmed rapidly.
Acute forms of chilblain are distinguished from chronic forms, which are recurrent. The victim’s physiology and age influence the development of chilblain. The time of year is also a factor. Most cases occur in the spring and fall, usually affecting weakened persons, children, adolescents, and the elderly. Anemia, a poor diet, and vitamin deficiency, as well as nervous disorders, chronic infections, and poisonings, are conducive to the development of chilblain.
Treatment includes warm baths, massage, and rubbing with camphor spirit, as well as the application of iodine tinctures and the use of ultraviolet radiation. Fissures and ulcerations are treated with ointment dressings and by soaking in a potassium permanganate solution. Chilblain can be prevented by protecting exposed parts of the body against cold and dampness and by observing a healthy diet. Vitamins and preparations containing calcium, iron, and arsenic are also helpful.
D. A. VELIKORETSKII