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The winter can be a miserable time for those living with chronic ill-health. The cold, damp weather can bring a sudden increase in symptoms, most notably pain.

I personally struggle with regulating my body temperature, which means I overheat in the summer, but I find it impossible to get warm in the winter.

Added to this, I’m virtually bed bound. Lack of exercise means I have poor circulation, and I also suffer from Raynaud’s disease which causes pain and discomfort in my hands.

My top 5 products to combat the cold

Over the years I have found a few items which have helped make the colder months more bearable. They not only help to keep me warm, but they also reduce the pain caused by the cold weather. Here are my top 5 ways to combat the cold:

1. Heated throws

For many years I used a heated electric under blanket which goes over the mattress, but although this did help, I found myself wanting to crawl under it to stay warm.

That’s when I discovered heated throws. They’re fleece, so soft on the skin, which is really important when you suffer from skin sensitivity, like I do.

They provide a gentle heat, and you can control the level of heat and set a timer. I personally have two in my bed, one for my legs and feet, and another for the top half of my body, which I hug for warmth. I find the lower half of my body gets colder than the top half, so this allows me to set different temperatures for both.

The gentle heat on my cold muscles and joints eases my pain. I really don’t know what I would do without them.

2. Rechargeable hand warmers

I discovered this gadget last winter. I suffer from Raynaud’s, and my hands are permanently cold, even during the summer, and I’ve always struggled to warm them up.

These hand warmers give a gentle heat and they have 3 heat settings. They are rechargeable and are charged from a USB connection. Mine is heated on both sides.

Once fully charged most rechargeable hand warmers give between 5-10 hours of heat, but you can keep it switched off in your pocket until you need it. They are a great instant heat source when you are out-and-about.

They are pocket sized, so very portable. I find the heat soothing and it reduces the pain caused by the cold, but the smooth pebble design is also very tactile and I find rolling it around in my hands calming – like a worry stone.

Rechargeable hand warmers are relatively inexpensive and there are many different brands and price ranges on the market.

3. “Heat holders” joint warmers

I’ve been wearing “Heat holders” joint warmers on my legs for a few years now. They are basically thermal wear made from insulating fabric. I suffer particularly with joint and muscle pain during the winter, and these give my legs extra protection from the cold.

The brand “Heat holders” also sell a selection of insulated clothing including leggings, tights, socks and gloves.

4. Hot water bottles

For years I have used hot water bottles in an attempt to keep warm. They really are the simplest and cheapest method. There’s also something very comforting about hugging a hot water bottle, especially when it has a fluffy cover.

But due to being bed bound and too weak to lift the kettle, I have to rely on others filling the hot water bottle for me. This means it’s not a practical 24/7 heat source.

I personally use mini hot water bottles because the full size ones are too heavy for me. Please be careful and don’t fill the bottle with boiling water. I’ve had a few burst on me over the years, and it’s not very pleasant. A safer option would probably be a microwaveable wheat bag, but I’ve never managed to find one that is unscented.

5. Layers of fleece blankets

During the hot weather I have my summer bedding which is lightweight, and during the winter I have 4 layers of fleece blankets. Fleece really is great at retaining heat from my heated throw, and the layers help too. Fleece blankets are relatively cheap and last for years.

Fleece blankets are also useful for keeping warm during car journeys and when out-and-about in a wheelchair.

Extra tips for keeping warm

There are many ways to combat the cold weather. Here are a few extra ideas on how to stay warm:

  • Consume lots of hot drinks
  • Wear cosy fleece socks
  • Wear insulated slippers
  • Try heated socks or slippers
  • Buy a portable fan heater
  • Put up thick curtains to prevent heat loss and drafts through the windows
  • Wear insulated or heated clothing like vests and jackets
  • Try an electric heated underblanket
  • Or a USB heated lap blanket
  • Use a microwavable heat pad
  • Why not try knee length socks or arm warmers?
  • Or try wearing a few thinner layers of clothing rather than one thick layer
  • And relax while keeping warm in your cosy fleece pyjamas.

I hope you manage to stay warm this winter. Take care x.

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