Cold ailments days are approaching.

Do you suffer from red-purple and painful fingers and / or toes?

You may then suffer from winter hands or feet.

How is that complaint caused?

And can anything be done about it?

General practitioner Edwin de Vaal (47) answers.

What are winter hands or toes anyway?

"The problem is caused by a protective reaction of the body. When it is very cold outside, the body wants to keep the temperature in the body as close as possible to protect the vital organs. The body does this through the small blood vessels in the skin. so that less blood goes to it and no more heat is lost through the feet and hands. "

"That is a normal reaction of the body when cold. Then the vessels open again: the skin becomes warm again and gives a glowing feeling. But in some people the system does not work well: their body reacts more strongly to cold."

Winter hands and feet in short

  • They arise from a reaction to cold

  • Keep your body warm: wear warm socks and gloves and protect the rest of your body from the cold as well

  • Do not smoke

  • Only go to the doctor with very serious complaints

"If the blood vessels are constricted too strongly and for a longer period of time, in the long run less oxygen will enter the hands and feet. Your hands and feet do not like that. To counteract this violent reaction, the body pretends there is an inflammation. This causes the blood vessels to open again and the blood flow to start. The disadvantage is that due to this simulated inflammatory reaction, the skin not only becomes hot and red, but also painful. "

Can anything be done about it?

"Make sure you keep your feet and hands as warm and dry as possible. Opt for gloves and thick socks. Do not wear too tight shoes, but put an extra sole in your shoes, for example, or wear shoes with thicker soles for even better protection of the sole of your foot. is against the cold ground or floor. "

"By the way, protect your nose and ears from the cold. And wear warm clothes anyway: a scarf to keep your neck warm and a hat for your head. This will prevent the body from registering cold and reacting by narrowing the blood vessels. . "

Does it help to warm the hands or feet against a heater or a hot water bottle?

"That is inadvisable. Because your hands and feet are more numb due to the cold and the narrowed veins, you run the risk of burning the skin. Warm up your toes and fingers as gradually as possible."

Are there any more ways to prevent chilblains and chilblains?

"Stop smoking. Smoking disrupts the blood circulation in the skin."

Do you have to go to the doctor with these complaints?

"No. Only in some serious cases, if the skin breaks, the complaints do not go away when it gets warmer or if other complaints are added, there may be an underlying disease or side effect of a particular drug. Then talk to the doctor's assistant. or general practitioner. There are no medicines against chilblains or chilblains. Only warmth and good protection against cold. "