Cold winter months are hard for lots of people, more so on those of us with lupus. Even though symptoms range from person to person, many lupus warriors struggle during the colder months of the year.

How is Lupus affected by the Cold Weather?

Many people with lupus already experience Raynauds syndrome with restricted blood flow, but cold temperatures could also be causing painful flare-ups as blood vessels constrict in the cold to prevent heat loss further restricting blood flow to the extremities and causing a minor form of painful frostbite. Simply by knowing some of the causes of flare ups in winter will help you avoid them. Some other potential triggers can also be:

Dry air

Cold air dries out your nasal passage causing you to be more susceptible to respiratory infections.

Stormy weather

Storms change the barometric pressure around them frequently. Even for people with lupus who are not bothered by the cold, pressure changes can cause symptom flares and pain. Though the scientific reasons behind these flare-ups isn’t fully known, it is likely related to other weather-sensitive health problems, such as joint pain and headaches.

Preparing Yourself For The Cold

1. Dress in warm layers to keep your joints warm and flexible.
2. If necessary to be out in the cold, make sure to take breaks to get warm again to avoid a flare.
3. Exercise inside during the winter, if possible.
4. If you need to exercise outside in the winter, don’t be inactive and keep moving to keep your joints and muscles warm and flexible.
5. Drink warm drinks. This will help to warm you from the inside out. Keep extra warm clothes or blankets in your car. We never expect something bad to happen but should you get stuck somewhere, become trapped in bad weather, or just go somewhere that is very cold, extra clothes are essential and very helpful.
6. Purchase warm inserts for your shoes. The inserts can be cut to fit inside your shoe and work to insulate your feet and prevent them from getting too cold.
7. Purchase hand warmers or chemical warming packets for your pockets. These are eBay to activate and can be found in the camping/outdoor departments in most stores. Once they are activated they provide several hours of heat. They help to prevent your hands/fingers from getting too cold.
8. Eat frequent small meals or snacks. This will help your body to have the energy it needs to help maintain your body temperature.
9. Avoid alcohol, it thins your blood thus causing you to feel the effects of being cold even more. Also, alcohol may make you care less about being cold allowing you to stay out in the cold longer without noticing.
10. Keep an eye on the weather. By doing this you may be able to head off a flare before it starts simply by being prepared.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do regarding the cold weather other than either staying inside or staying warm as possible and being prepared. When dealing with my own lupus I have found the more prepared I was for symptoms the easier it was to fight off a flare up. Hope this helps you and if you like my blog, please like and subscribe for more content! Thanks xoxo.

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