- Layering – Keeps the core warm which helps keep the blood circulating in the fingers, toes and other extremities. But it’s important to use the right fabrics: You want moisture wicking material next to your body so that it stays dry (wet makes you cold!), so use synthetics instead of cotton base layers. The middle layer should be a good insulator, like wool or fleece. Outer layers will ideally be wind-resistant and water-proof if wet weather is an issue. Down coats and jackets are also good at trapping air for insulation, but make sure they are long enough to cover a good part of the legs and butt!
- Accessories – We all know the importance of good gloves and mittens, that’s a given. But don’t forget about the other extremities, like the nose – wear a wide scarf that you can pull up over your nose when the wind blows. And hats are critical to help keep heat from escaping the body and for covering the ears that can also suffer during Raynaud’s attacks.
- Boots and Socks – Warm, fuzzy lining is important not only for warmth, but also to keep from aggravating sensitive skin on the toes (from earlier Raynaud’s attacks). Make sure the boots are loose enough to leave room for thicker wool or thermal socks or tights, but not too loose that snow and cold air can enter. Feet can swell during attacks, another reason to make sure boots are roomy. And consider adding a thin silk or synthetic sock as a base layer for frosty toes!
Additional tips include: Keep a thin pair of gloves handy around the house or for grocery shopping. Make good use of disposable, reusable and microwaveable heat pads and electric blankets or mattress pads. Plus make sure you have some fuel in your tummy – digestion is “internal exercise” for building heat. But consider healthy choices when selecting food – and good news: dark chocolate is on the list for increasing blood flow!
One more tip: avoid over-the-counter medications that may contain beta blockers. They can potentially constrict the blood vessels, and are found in common cold and sinus remedies.
Here are a couple of links with more useful tips: Yee Wittle Things blog post: Raynaud’s Sufferers – Tips For Keeping Warm and 6 Tips for Staying Warm During a Polar Vortex published by Real Simple magazine.