Raynaud’s is a condition that causes your fingers, toes and/or other extremities to turn white or blue when exposed to cold temperatures or stress. If this happens to you, there are many ways to manage it. One is to avoid the cold or stressful situations, but that’s not always an option. The alternative is to find warm products to help keep the cold from triggering Raynaud’s symptoms in the first place. Here are some ideas to add to your cold weather wardrobe and more:
Gloves, mittens, and hand warmers are excellent for keeping your hands nice and toasty. If you have Raynaud’s, you should consider stocking up on these items before winter hits, as during peak season, some of the best brands sell out early. You’ll find several warm products featured in the Product Showcase section of our website, including warm gloves and mittens that won’t make you look like Susie Ski Bunny. You’ll also find hand warmers using a variety of external heat sources, including rechargeable batteries, microwaveable pouches and the “always ready” chemical warmers (many Frosties buy them by the box!).
Heated jackets, coats, vests and hoodies help keep the core warm. Raynaud’s attacks occur because the body believes it’s under threat from extreme cold or stress, so it shuts down blood vessels in the extremities to send blood to the body’s core for protecting vital organs. If the core is kept warm, it can help alleviate this process. Heated apparel has come a long way over the years – batteries are lighter weight and last longer, they have multiple settings and remote controls to easily make adjustments, and the styles are more fashionable and better suited for women. So if you’ve tried these items years back and rejected them as making you look like an uncomfortable Michelin Man, give them another try!
Make sure all areas of the body are well-protected. A coat with a zipper that goes all the way up will help keep hot air in when it’s cold outside. This is a simple concept, but one that might not be so obvious. Also, consider glove liners and fingerless gloves that can cover the gap between your gloves or mittens and coat sleeves. This is an area where heat can escape and icy snow can slip through to the skin, triggering an attack.
Pay attention to sensitive areas of the body – beyond the extremities – that can help add warmth and protection. We mentioned the wrist area above: keeping the wrist warm helps open blood vessels leading to the hand and fingers. A neck scarf or gaiter is another option for keeping warm during the cold season. A cozy layer around the neck helps add warmth to the whole body. Scarves are easy to throw on when going out into the elements and can add a nice statement of fashion or attitude to any coat or jacket. Choose one that has a cushy, soft feel so it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin and gives you a nice “warm hug” when wrapped snuggly to help avoid drafts.
Don’t forget your toes! Foot warmers are a great way to keep your feet warm. Some foot warmers are even paired with apps to help regulate the temperature in your shoes. This option is especially helpful for those going in and out of the cold commuting or as part of your job. For those who can’t easily tolerate wearing boots all day long, foot warmers provide warmth with good mobility and flexibility as an alternative to winter-ready insulated boots. Like hand warmers, products that warm the feet also offer a variety of heating options, including socks with rechargeable batteries, slippers with microwaveable pouches and slim chemical warmers that can easily fit into any shoes or boots.
Bedding and Warming Accessories
Bedding products you’re already using offer extra insulation to targeted body areas. One good way to keep your hands warm is to sleep with a pair of gloves on, but some people find nighttime gloves restricting. If your bedtime routine already includes getting into bed with pillows and blankets, why not use them as heaters, as they can be positioned to keep your body warm, too. Just press them against specific body areas that tend to get cold. For example, bury your feet or hands under an extra pillow, or wrap an extra blanket around the shoulders or neck area – it may help keep you toasty!
Heated bedding products add an extra layer of warmth (and maybe survival). Many Frosties swear by heated blankets and heated mattress pads – we’ve even heard how they’ve helped save marriages! Most queen and king-sized products offer separate controls for each side of the bed, so your partner can sleep in icy cold comfort while you wrap yourself in heated coils of warmth. Even if you don’t require extra heat throughout the night, it can be inviting to warm up the bed with these products before retiring, then turn off the heat once you’re comfy enough to surrender to sleep. When your partner turns up the bedroom air conditioning or fan in the summer, the extra heat can be a welcome way to survive the surrounding cold. Just let your partner kick off their covers while you create a warm cocoon for the night.
Chances are you’ll find warm comfort in some old standbys tucked away in the closet. Hot water bottles and heating pads are excellent warming options, even if they lack the high-tech caché of other products in today’s market. If you have an old school heating pad or hot water bottle lying around at home, your kid may snicker and call you Grandma, but go ahead and use it! Just make sure the heating pad has an automatic safety turn-off feature, and the hot water bottle won’t leak onto clothing or bedding when stored overnight.
Heated Car Features
Many newer cars are equipped today with heated steering wheels – hooray! How did we live without these toasty options in the olden days? True, it can be difficult to feel the heat of the steering wheel through a thick pair of gloves, but it’s great to have the option of taking off your mitts once the car warms up and lose the chill as you wrap your fingers around the heat of the wheel! Believe it or not, this is one of the most highly searched terms on our website.
Heated car seats are also a lifesaver for those with Raynaud’s. On a cold, blustery day the welcome warmth can warm you up after a long walk getting to your car, or can arm you for battling the cold upon your arrival at your destination. Those equipped with heaters that warm seat backs in addition to the bottoms also offer a great way to help warm the core.
Finally, it’s important to remember that no one product is going to work for everyone, but we hope the above ideas for warm products provide some warm inspiration. For more warm product information, check out the reviews in our Product Showcase, and don’t forget to take advantage of our member discounts!
Thank you for the info! First time I have been here, and it’s nice to have the ‘connection’ with others in the world!
by J.F. (NY)
Thank You for the Info!
Great to find you! Have very much appreciated reading your blog entry on Keeping Toes Warm!
By P.M. (AR)
Great to Find You!
It provides support & important information.
by B.B. (LA)
Provides Important Information
Thank you so much for making this page and having people donate to this.
By M.J. (Facebook)
Thanks So Much for This Page
Please keep up the great work. Your work touches so many unknown but eternally grateful people.
by M.W. (WA)
Keep Up the Great Work
Thank you! I am So happy to have found this community & organization.
So Happy to Find This Community & Organization
I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone…but it sure feels good to know you can share experiences with someone who TRULY knows your pain.
by M.H. (Facebook Fan)
Feels Good to Share Experiences With Someone Who Knows Your Pain
This organization keeps me informed of ways to manage my Raynaud’s. From reviewing & testing warming products to keeping us up to date on the latest medical developments, I really appreciate it.
Keeps Me Informed
The Raynaud’s Association has given me a platform to speak about my journey with Raynaud’s. I felt alone, but once I found this association I met thousands of other sufferers.
by A.C. (NY)
Platform to Speak and Not Feel Alone
Keep up the great work with the newsletter, always a pleasure to read.
By J.C. (Canada)