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Chilblains (Perniosis)

Topic Overview

Chilblains (Perniosis, also known as pernio) is a reaction to cold, nonfreezing temperatures. It is seen most often in young people who have Raynaud's phenomenon and people who are exposed to damp, cold weather.

Symptoms develop 2 to 14 hours after exposure to cold and usually affect the hands, ears, lower legs, or feet. Symptoms include:

  • Local redness and swelling.
  • Skin bumps.
  • Changes in sensation, such as itching or burning.
  • Tender blue bumps that develop after rewarming.
  • Blisters and ulcers (in severe cases).

Treatment includes rewarming the affected areas, caring for any blisters that form, and avoiding re-exposure to cold.

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine

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