Raynaud’s – the WORST part of cold weather

Last Wednesday, the wind chill and cool Connecticut fall weather had me in a baaad mood. Cold weather brings out my inner b*tch…

…but it hasn’t always made me like that! I used to be able to deal with the cold – I used to ski & love the snow. I started hating the cold winters when I found out I had Raynaud’s syndrome! Don’t pity me yet – it’s not a serious condition. In fact, 1 in 20 Americans deal with this! Raynaud’s causes some body parts – for me, it’s my hands and feet – to feel completely numb and cold whenever exposed to cold temperatures. The small arteries that bring blood to the skin actually get more narrow, which limits circulation to affected areas. Right now I’ll only be talking about primary Raynaud’s, which is the variation that isn’t attached to a medical condition. Secondary Raynaud’s is often associated with a serious condition.

You or someone you know may have Raynaud’s, and not even know it! When I’m exposed to the cold, my hands get tingly, then go numb, and will turn red and finally white. Some people can experience the affected body part turning blue or purple. The other day, I was on a run and my sneaker felt loose, so I wanted to re-tie it. I couldn’t (not because I never properly learned to tie my shoes), but because my fingers literally could not move. I looked down and they were completely white! I tried untying the double knot in my laces to no avail. I couldn’t even respond to a text on my iPhone, that’s how you know that this is beyond my control! Right now, I’m inside but still a little chilly. My toes are numb & I could TOTALLY go for a space heater by my feet (maybe I should create an app that delivers that). The only way for me to feel better after I lose feeling in my fingers or toes is to GO INSIDE – somewhere WARM!!! Once I “defrost”, my fingers turn bright red again as blood returns to the area and I regain feeling.

If you suffer too, what can you do?!

Dress in layers, and always carry a pair of gloves when driving or going outside

Carry those little hand warmers that skiers use! You can use these on your hands or feet

Use an insulated reusable bottle for cold drinks so your fingers don’t get cold from holding it

Get a hot cup of tea or coffee to hold & warm up your hands

Run your hands under warm water to get them warm again

Stay inside! Seriously, if you can avoid the outdoors, do it. I had a job last winter that required me to stand outside for hours during a holiday event, and I had to suffer through it. I know I should’ve told my supervisor I couldn’t… I felt like she wouldn’t have taken it seriously as Raynaud’s isn’t that well known.

Massage the affected area!

My last tip for people who suffer from Raynaud’s is to TALK ABOUT IT! By raising awareness you can help yourself avoid situations that may cause your Raynaud’s to flare up. You can also help others who may suffer from Raynaud’s and not know anything about it!

Let me know in the comments if you suffer from Raynaud’s too. OR if you JUST found out why you’ve had numb hands!
Share this if you’re a total grump in the cold weather, and need to justify it. Heheheh
XO Juliette

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