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Definition of «Chilblain»


Chilblain: A cold injury which, while painful, causes little or no permanent impairment. It appears as red, swollen skin which is tender, hot to the touch, and may itch. This can worsen to an aching, prickly ("pins and needles") sensation, and then numbness. It can develop in only a few hours in skin exposed to cold.

The first aid treatment of chilblains is to stop exposure to cold, remove any wet or constrictive clothing, gently wash and dry the injured area, elevate it, cover it with layers of loose warm clothes and allow to rewarm.

Like other kinds of cold injury such as trench foot and frostbite, chilblains may occur with and without freezing of body tissues. The young and the elderly are especially prone to cold injury. Alcohol increases the risk of cold injury which can lead to loss of body parts and even to death.

"Chilblain" is an old English term compounded from chill + blain, an archaic word for a inflamed swelling or sore on the body.

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