Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the frequency of chilblains among soldiers in general and recruits and cadets in particular during peace time at a climatically cold weather station. Design: A descriptive study. Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in dermatology department of Combined Military Hospital, Abbottabad during the winter months of Dec 2004 to Mar 2005. Patients and Methods: Serving soldiers of all ranks who were clinically diagnosed to be suffering from chilblains were included in the study. They were interviewed in detail and examined thoroughly. All the findings were recorded in a pre designed proforma. A separate proforma was filled for each patient. Results: During the period mentioned above, 493 soldiers were registered in dermatology outpatient department of Combined Military Hospital, Abbottabad for various skin diseases. A total of 41 (8.3%) soldiers were diagnosed and treated as chilblains cases. Out of 364 regular soldiers (Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks) 10 (2.7%) were having chilblains. On the other hand, out of 129 newly inducted soldiers (Recruits and cadets) 31 (24.0%) were diagnosed as having chilblains. Twenty eight (90.3%) of these newly recruited soldiers belonged to climatically warmer areas and this was their first winter at this cold weather station. Twenty nine (70.7%) of the 41 soldiers were treated in outdoor, whereas 12 (29.3%) were hospitalized. The number of wasted days ranged from 20 to 106 with a mean of 34.66 days. Conclusion: Chilblains are more frequent among newly recruited soldiers, who are not acclimatized properly and are more exposed to cold because of their training activities.
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