Staying warm this winter
Many people with arthritis report that their symptoms get worse when the weather is cold and damp. Here are our top tips for staying warm this winter and reducing your symptoms:
Wear suitable clothing
Layers of clothing work better at trapping the heat than thicker clothes. Wearing thicker socks or two pairs (as long as they’re not too tight) not only helps to keep your feet warm but also provides extra cushioning under your soles.
Many slippers, shoes and boots are available with sheepskin or synthetic fur linings to help keep your feet warm. It’s easier to keep your feet warm when the rest of your body is warm.
Try hand warmers or heated gloves, and reduce the amount of heat you lose through your head by wearing a hat.
Keep your home warm
The NHS recommends that you should heat it to at least 18oC if you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease. Use draft excluders and close your curtains at dusk to help keep heat in.
Older people could get help to pay heating bills through the Winter Fuel Payment scheme. If you’re getting certain benefits, you could also be entitled to Cold Weather Payments.
Use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket to keep your bed warm. Using a hot-water bottle or microwaveable wheat bag can also help to ease stiffness.
A warm bath or shower before bed will help to warm you up will also help to ease stiff and painful joints.
Exercise will improve your circulation and help to keep you warmer. The weather might put you off doing long outdoor walks but there are many indoor options, like doing a yoga class, trying aerobics or using the treadmill at the gym.
Make sure you eat well. You need energy from food to stay warm, so try to have regular hot meals and drinks. Find out more about diet and arthritis.
There can be plenty of opportunities to have a drink with family, friends and colleagues during the festive period. It’s wise to be careful with alcohol in the cold. If you’ve drunk too much alcohol and you go out into the cold, your body sends heat away from the core of your body to warm up the blood vessels and skin at the surface of your body.
If you smoke it can make your circulation worse because it narrows the blood vessels. Poorer circulation in your fingers and toes will make your hands feel colder.
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