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Staying Warm in Cold Weather with Sickle Cell

Posted Dec 06 2010 4:58am
Written by Sickle Cell Warrior on 06 December 2010

It is December, which means that the cold winds are upon those of us in North America. No matter where you live, chances are, there are some cold, frigid days headed your way this month.

Cold can be a trigger of sickle cell crises, because when you are cold, your body goes into a protective mode, and shunts blood from your non-essential body parts to your important organs. This process is done through vasoconstriction, which means your blood vessels become narrower. This means that sickled cells now have a great opportunity to clog up the narrow blood circulatory pathway.
So it’s important that sickle cell warriors bundle up and stay warm during the winter.

There are many important things to know about staying warm and toasty. Besides the obvious, staying inside and hibernating all season…lol. Here are a couple of tips to help you on your way.

Try light fabrics that are layered multiple times. This way when you get indoors, you can remove a couple of layers and not swelter. Remember, when you get too hot, and start to sweat, leading to dehydration which could then lead to a crises if not reversed. So it’s important to stay hydrated during these cold months.

Silk long johns/undershirts are good for keeping body heat close in your body. 100% cashmere is expensive, but lightweight and warm enough to layer with another sweater on top for those extra chilly climes. I usually wear my silk tight pants and under shirt, a regular shirt on top, a cashmere sweater and another bigger, bulky sweater to keep toasty up top.

Cover your head, since 75% of body heat is lost through the head.

Tuck your silk long johns into your socks. Go for wool socks versus cotton ones. Wear leg warmers if you are going to be standing outside for a long time on top or under your jeans. My knees are very suspect to the cold, so I often wear some leg warmers around my knees for added protection.

Wrap a winter scarf around your neck and snuggle into your big winter coat. Try coats that are lined, or filled with some goose down, wind resistant, as well as long enough to cover most of your body.

Wear gloves. If your hands, head and face are warm, often, you don’t feel as cold. Remember, we are prone to having pain crises in our hands, so some fur-lined gloves would be just the thing.

Share your tips in the comments section.

Hopefully this will protect you from the harshest of the elements. Stay warm everyone!

Sickler The Patient Sickle Cell Diet
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