In cold weather, not only cold hands, cold feet or a cold nose can come in winter, but the lower temperatures can also have more serious consequences. These include tissue damage such as chilblains and frostbite. Read here how to prevent and treat frostbite and frostbite.
Chilblains on hands and toes
Chilblains are swellings under the skin that itch and / or hurt. They can be caused by cold and moisture and, in contrast to frostbite, which only occur in strong cold, even at temperatures around zero degrees. At such temperatures, chilblains occur only in long-lasting cold weather.
Body parts that are less well supplied are particularly frequently affected. These include feet, hands and ears. People who are having trouble with their blood circulation have to struggle with chilblains. In addition, frostbite can also occur if the blood flow is artificially impeded, for example, by too tightly laced shoes.
Chilblains usually heal on their own, but the healing process can take up to three weeks. It is particularly important not to scratch the bumps during this time, but to relieve the itching with a suitable ointment. In addition, one should take care during the healing process to keep the affected body parts warm.
If the chilblains are particularly pronounced, medicines containing the active ingredient nifedipine can be used for the treatment. Nifedipine lowers blood pressure by dilating the smooth muscle vessels.
Treat chilblains with home remedies
In addition to nifedipine, it is also possible to treat chilblains with home remedies: pour 100 grams of horsetail or oak bark with one liter of hot water, let it brew and then cool it down until the water is only lukewarm. Then bathe the affected areas carefully in the liquid. In addition, chopped onions that have been brewed with hot water are also suitable for bathing after cooling down.
Also promote the healing process of chilblains a porridge of water and healing earth: Apply the porridge to the affected area and then wrap with a bandage. Even raw potato slices, which are placed on the chilblains, should be able to relieve the symptoms.
Frostbite and degree of frostbite
Frostbite is particularly common in dry cold and temperatures below zero degrees. Due to the cold, ice crystals form between the body cells and the cells are destroyed. In addition, circulatory disorders may occur as the erythrocytes clump together. This can result in death of the tissue.
Symptoms of frostbite include pale skin, a feeling of cold, and sharp pains in the affected limbs. Over time, the frozen limbs become numb. In the case of particularly severe frostbite, white, hard skin areas develop, which turn black after thawing. Alternatively, blood bubbles can form which subsequently develop into ulcers.
Generally one distinguishes between frostbite, first, second, third and fourth degree:
- First degree frostbite: The skin is red and the affected limbs feel numb.
- Frostbite of the second degree: On the skin there is a strong blistering.
- Third degree frostbite: skin tissue dies. The dead black tissue must be removed as soon as possible.
- Fourth degree frostbite: Frostbite affects all layers of tissue. The affected part of the body must be amputated.
If light frostbite occurs, the affected area should be heated slowly. This is best suited to your own body heat, for example, by covering the face with frostbite with your hands. Alternatively, the frozen skin can slowly be thawed in body-warm water (37 degrees).
Under no circumstances may hot water be used to treat frostbites or skin areas to come into contact with a hot heater. In addition, massaging the frozen areas also has a harmful effect.
If in doubt, you should always consult a doctor. He can give tips for further treatment and - if necessary - prescribe a circulation-promoting ointment. In case of severe frostbite you should always consult a doctor immediately!
Prevent frostbite and frostbite
With a few simple tips, you can prevent chilblains and frostbite:
- Wear clothes that are appropriate to the temperatures. Pay special attention to a warm hat, warm gloves and thick woolen socks if you spend more time outdoors.
- If you play sports in the fresh air, then you should go back into the heat quickly afterwards. Because when you sweat on the skin evaporative cold.
- Protect your facial skin with a thick layer of fat cream or a special cold cream.