Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter Survival Tips

Surviving winter is about more than keeping warm taking extra pain medication with you live with RA, it is about being proactive and keeping ahead of the dangers and/or negative effects of winter.

Gloves vs. mittens. 
Avoid gloves that are too tight as they can restrict blood circulation and aggrevate Raynaud’s syndrome. Consider wearing mittens instead. Mittens allow your fingers to warm each other and provide extra room in which you can insert disposable “hand warmers” to keep arthritis joints warm and toasty.

Too easily, people can become less active during the winter months; however, immobility works against RA. Muscles contribute to the strength and stability of joints and need regular activity to stay healthy. Stretching and gentle range of motion exercises are essential. Exercise can decrease RA pain by keeping joints and cartilage healthy, while also helping to reduce symptoms of depression which are common during the winter months.

Heated pools are good.

Clear snow and ice.
To prevent frost from forming on your car’s windows, spritz the outer surface of the window with a mixture of 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water once you are done with errands for the day. To make snow shoveling easier, spray your shovel with aerosol cooking spray beforehand to help the snow glide right off.

Stay safe.
Wet conditions of winter can be treacherous and we want to avoid falling to reduce the risk of injury. Wear sturdy, supportive shoes with good tread (sometimes tennis shoes are the worse shoes to wear on slippery surfaces) and try to avoid walking on ice. You may be better off walking through fresh snow, providing natural traction. Also, ask your doctor about obtaining a ‘handicapped’ parking permit to allow you to park closer to your destination and consider using a mobility aid such as a walking cane for the added stability.

Rest up and relax.

Hydrate and moisturize.
Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated from the inside out. Protect your skin by keeping it moisturized. As a musician, it is important that I keep my lips, part of my playing instrument, soft and supple by locking in moisture. I like to use plain vaseline or A+D® Original Ointment as Chapstick makes my lips feel dry.

Avoid getting sick.

Take medication as prescribed.

Have fun and watch for longer days to come.

Read this post in its entirety:
Surviving Winter with RA

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