Winter Weather and Chronic Illness
The seasons have changed once again, and winter is now in full swing. In many parts of the country, heavy snowstorms are already happening, and we’re not even into the thick of winter. We even got snow in Louisiana earlier this month!
What some of us may not realize, is that the dry, cold winter air can be harsh on those who suffer from chronic illness. People with such conditions as emphysema, COPD, fibromyalgia, and mesothelioma–just to name a few–can find themselves with worsening symptoms at this time of year. I’d like to share a few tips to help keep yourself more comfortable and healthy during this time of year.
ADD MOISTURE TO YOUR HOME’S AIR
Frosty air makes us turn our heaters on, and when the heat is blasting throughout our homes, it’s very drying to skin and our respiratory systems alike. Heated air can cause flare ups of such skin problems as psoriasis and eczema, and dry out nasal passages and cause breathing issues. Investing in a good humidifier can help alleviate some of these problems. In the winter, it’s important to get a humidifier that has adjustable levels so your living room doesn’t end up feeling like an Amazon jungle. Move the humidifier to the room you are in–when you go to bed, bring it with you. When one of us is feeling stuffy, I like to add a few drops of essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus to help us breathe better and get to sleep.
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR SKIN
As I mentioned above, skin often suffers in the heated air as well–and cold winds, too! Even if you don’t have a chronic skin condition, now is the time to bump up your skin care regimen. Using creamy, rich body wash is the best way to begin moisturizing. While you are still in the shower, you can also take the step of using the innovative new product called in-shower lotion, which glides on wet skin! It truly does help seal in your skin’s natural moisture. If you prefer regular lotion or body cream, use that instead. For your face, consider using a moisturizing cream with SPF. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the sun has gone anywhere. And finally, apply a lip balm several times a day. Repeat the lotion and lip balm steps before bed as well.
FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S ORDERS
Most importantly, follow any advice your doctor gives you in regards to the cold weather and your illness! If he or she tells you you should not be outside when it’s cold, stay in! If you are given the all clear to enjoy the wintry wonderland, take it outside but remember to pamper yourself when you come back in by taking advantage of the advice in this post.
Are you a person who has one of the chronic illnesses (Click here to learn more about mesothelioma) that might be affected by winter weather? Please share your experience and tips in the comments.