Chilblains and their side-effects...

>> Friday, 18 December 2009

Growing up in an old and draughty house, as a little girl I used to get terrible chilblains on my toes. (Click on the word for a link if you're lucky enough never to have experienced them). Oh, that burning, itchy feeling was simply horrendous. The relief of taking my school shoes off at the end of the day so I could have a good old scratch is something I still recall today.

Boy #2 - unsurprisingly, sturdy little soldier - is unaffected by them, but of course (of course!) his older and more 'delicate' brother suffers. Normally I tend to brush off Boy #1's afflictions; with the exception of his allergies and eczema he's actually pretty healthy, and when he does complain the causes seem most often to be imagined, or the result of near-fatal encounters with the edge of the table or fallings-off the arms of the sofa. When it comes to chilblains however, having experienced them myself, I am very sympathetic.

Unfortunately it seems that there's not much you can take for them as a child unless - as his did last year - they get infected, and the doctor prescribes antibiotics. You just have to try and keep skin moisturised, legs and hands warm, and your circulation up.

So far this winter he only has the one chilblain and I'm trying desperately to keep it that way, so when at bedtime yesterday he complained it was hurting him I decided to bring out the big guns and - gasp - reached for a hot water bottle, which I part-filled with warm water.

You think you know where this is going, don't you?

Well, apparantly it was just what the doctor ordered, and within a few minutes he was fast asleep. I'm not sure if it actually made much of a difference in real terms but the novelty value alone was enough to convince him that I was taking the situation seriously enough (which is, let's be honest, what we all want when we're feeling under the weather). What a great idea, I thought. No medication, no fuss, no trip to the doctors.

What I hadn't given much thought to, of course, was the possibility he might wake up at 5.00am and realise the hot water bottle was now cold. And I hadn't even considered the possibility that instead of pushing it away and down to the bottom of the bed - like any reasonable adult (as in, not a 6 year old) might do - he would sit up in bed and scream the house down demanding that it be refilled.

So, no hot water bottle tonight. But on the upside, it's good to know that threats of the naughty chair work even in the dark cold of the early morning...


Heather 18 December 2009 at 12:02  

oh man, 5am? not a time you want to running around filling up hot wsater bottles.

TheMadHouse 18 December 2009 at 12:16  

I too suffered from Chilblains as a child.

On the hottie front, Marks and Sparks small ones keep their heat all night!!

Potty Mummy 18 December 2009 at 13:37  

Heather, well, I'm afraid I didn't. He just had to go back to sleep. I know it sounds hard but it would be a slippery slope if I said yes...

MadHouse - good tip. We may need those in Russia!

nappy valley girl 18 December 2009 at 16:08  

Ah, the flaw in the plan...I'll remember that one if it comes to hot water bottles. Which it might do soon; it's minus 8 today.

I've never had chilblains, but at boarding school we were always told you could get them from sitting on radiators. I wonder whether this is true or whether just a ploy to stop us sitting on radiators?

The Green Stone Woman 18 December 2009 at 17:27  

I never had them and had never heard of them either. I don't even know what they are in Dutch. I would have to look it up. Are you sure his shoes aren't too tight? And does he wear warm socks?

Iota 18 December 2009 at 18:04  

I thought that story was going somewhere else. Somewhere involving a flood in the night.

Expat mum 18 December 2009 at 19:17  

I used to hate that. I don't think you can even buy hot water bottles overe here. Seems like something out of a history book, although I had one growing up (before we got the central heating in.)

Frog in the Field 18 December 2009 at 19:43  

We don't get chilblains, too cold for childblains in this house, it's full blown frostbite!
How are you Potty?

Cranky Mommy 18 December 2009 at 19:54  

I have had them since I was a kid! Thank you for this validation that it is not just my weird feet! I find them worse in cold damp weather and I cannot ever wear socks to bed because they need the air. Doesn't it break your heart that they inherit all of our worst conditions! Funny about the hot water bottle because my son is addicted to ice packs at night! Heat makes him itch. Stop refilling it! Or do what I do: say I will be right there and roll over and go back to sleep!

sharon 19 December 2009 at 01:54  

I used to get those as a child too. So painful. I had some really greasy ointment for them, no idea what it was though. My Mum would take the hot water bottle away once I was in bed as she insisted that putting your feet on it would encourage more chilblains. Try thermal bed-socks at night. At least if they come off he can put them back on for himself.

Kath@Parklover 19 December 2009 at 15:42  

Chilblains are grim. I've not had them for years, but last time I did I got some cream from Boots and it worked a treat. Have you tried asking in there rather than the doctor?

Paradise Lost In Translation 19 December 2009 at 21:41  

I had chilblains all thru my childhood. I must admit hot water bottles, & hot baths made them itch like mad. Icy water stopped them itching, but I imagine that wdn't be very popular wth yr little boy!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings 20 December 2009 at 04:41  

OK. I had those too as a kid and had no idea that was what they were called! Now I know and I am so glad to know it just wasn't me being a total freak about things!

Yeah, I would have woke up at 5 a.m. and screamed for you too. Seriously....who wants their hot water bottle to go cold? I used to have those in my bed at night because we had an old and drafty house when I was a child. I loved those hot water bottles...until they got cold of course.

Muddling Along Mummy 20 December 2009 at 22:56  

I suffer with chidblains - have you tried those bags of cherry stones, they don't go cold which might help

Potty Mummy 22 December 2009 at 15:47  

Hi all,

thanks for your comments and Boy *1 still has them, but I found a homeopathic remedy which does seem to be helping as it's supposed to improve your circulation. Only time will tell if it gets rid of them though. And since we're leaving for Moscow in just over 2 weeks and the temperature there is currently -5 degC on a warm day and -20degC on a cold one, I'm really hoping for a positive outcome on this one!

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