How you can stay comfortable during colder months

Multiple Sclerosis is a unique and frustrating illness to live with. When you add in the effects different temperatures can create, Multiple Sclerosis can become three times as frustrating. Each season seems to be followed by different challenges. Of course, the heat acts like kryptonite for Multiple Sclerosis and can cause symptoms to worsen. Unfortunately, extreme heat can also create new symptoms to be exposed. When someone with MS is exposed to heat, they may experience fatigue, numbness, blurred vision, tremors, confusion, weakness, and balance issues.

When the seasons change from hot to cold, those with MS are forced to battle with other issues. Cold weather causes people with or without MS to become tense. The increased tension of the muscles can cause increased spasms, muscles feeling tighter, and difficulties moving limbs.

I have lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years, and I live in an area that seems to only have two and a half seasons. This may not make sense, but I say this because the temperatures are either insanely hot for about nine months, slightly chilly for about one month, and mildly cold for two months. Some people are fortunate enough to have four true seasons and hopefully experience at least one season where they are comfortable.

When seasons bring on various challenges it is crucial to discover ways to stay well and as healthy as possible. First, we need to allow our bodies time to adjust to the differences, especially when going from extreme heat to bitter cold. This is something that cannot be rushed and will play out according to how it does.

For anyone that lives with the same medical issue as I do, Multiple Sclerosis, I am going to share a few tips that can help you stay both comfortable and warm during the colder months. If your symptoms worsen with colder temperatures, please know this should be short-lived discomfort. The following tips may be helpful for you even if you do not have MS and deal with another medical issue. I have experienced issues with temperatures more than I care to admit, but these tips helped me stay as comfortable as I can.

The first tip I have, please understand will not always be easy. Sometimes when we make simple alterations, it can make hard tasks a little easier. Even when it seems impossible, try to keep moving. Try simple and moderate physical activities, such as short walks or stretching. This tip helps you to burn energy and keep you warmer.

The second tip might take experimenting with different types of clothing. Dressing in layers helps you to stay warm and allows you to remove clothing when you get too warm. The challenges involved in determining the right clothing will be how many layers is not enough, too much, or finally just right! Wearing a hat will keep your head warm. Wearing lined boots or socks will keep your feet warm. Hats and socks will not allow heat to escape from your head or feet, which assists with keeping the rest of you warm.

The third tip I am going to share is that it is important to keep your hands and feet warm. For those of you with Multiple Sclerosis, doctors believe that MS causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to overreact to cold temperatures. To protect your hands and feet from negative effects from cold temperatures, try using hand warmers or a heating pad. REMEMBER to use CAUTION when using a heating pad and to avoid blisters, do not apply heating pad directly to your skin.

On a side note, if you do have MS, you may be at risk for Raynaud’s phenomenon. This is a condition that causes your fingers and toes to lose heat. This can cause your fingers and toes to turn from white to blue to red as the blood starts to flow again. With this condition, you may feel numbness, pain, or feel as though someone is sticking you with pins and needles, which is an awful feeling.

The fourth tip to staying comfortable during the colder months is to warm your insides. During colder months it is easy to have a hot meal, such as soup. Plus, you can sip on hot drinks like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and pour whatever your preferred beverage into an insulated mug. This will keep your drink warm longer and reduce trips to the kitchen to warm your drink.

Lastly, even on those crisp fall days or bitterly cold winter days, getting sunshine can warm you up. Simply walking outside for a short time to soak in some rays from the sun can be beneficial. Getting a little such sunshine can warm you up, allow your body to absorb some much-needed Vitamin D, and may boost your mood.

I am sure there are many other ways to stay warm and comfortable during the colder months, but these are the ones I know work for me. I would love to read any other suggestions you may have of things that have helped you. It is not too cold where I live, but I am sure it will happen in the next few months. Honestly, the temperatures are comfortable right now, if only the rain would not come back. Even if it is not cold, the rain always makes me feel terrible!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found the information I have shared helpful, and I am looking forward to reading your comments. I promise I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can, but it will probably be once I am out of work. Please continue to do everything you can to stay safe from the virus that continues to plague the world. I do know the numbers are decreasing as more get vaccinated, but it is still a little terrifying. I hope you never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

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