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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 reexposure to cold.

Credits

Current as of: July 1, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine

Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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