How to Manage the Cold Weather for Those with Neurological Conditions
As winter is approaching people suffering from neurological problems can be more vulnerable to cold-related issues like severe nerve pain due to low temperature. Below are some important tips to manage the issue due to the upcoming cold weather.
HOW COLD WEATHER CAN BE AN ISSUE:
Of course, not everyone experiences the same symptoms but below are some impacts and the reasons why people may have to avoid the cold:
Nerve pain: People having a condition of nerve pain like a back pain can experience an increase in symptoms. This is caused by the reaction of the nervous system to extreme temperature be it low or high. In case of high temperature, one may feel more lethargic and if the temperature is too low it can cause increased pain.
Muscle stiffness: For patients with multiple sclerosis, muscle stiffness or spasticity due to low temperature in winters can cause severe stiffness and painful spasms. If one experiences such symptoms, it is ideal to avoid being in the cold for prolonged hours.
Loss of sensation: Some people cannot differentiate between hot and cold temperatures hence it is advisable to be mindful of not being exposed to very cold temperature or be near fire or radiators as it could be dangerous.
Blood pressure: People having issues with blood pressure and vascular problems should make sure they are not exposed to extreme temperature for extended periods of time and ensure their house is warm enough.
The reason for this is that the usual blood pressure of the body is higher than normal in winter and low in summer to maintain balance. Cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict which increases the blood pressure exerted by the heart as more pressure is required to move the blood through the narrowed veins and arteries.
Cold-related illness: Patients with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic neurological conditions are more prone to catch flu in cold weather and have a higher risk of complications with their conditions. They should consider a flu shot to protect against the seasonal flu.
Icy conditions: Snow in winter can create slippery pavements and paths that are very unsafe to walk on but if you are typically suffering from mobility issues or also experience vertigo and dizziness, you might want to take extra care of such things in an icy environment.
How can I protect myself in low temperatures?
Here are some tips for dealing with the cold weather:
- Make sure to keep warm, you can try extra layers to keep the heat in like thermal underwear. If you need to go out in the cold, keep your hands and feet covered with socks and gloves, add winter coat, hat, and scarf to your clothing. Take special care of parts where you experience nerve pain and keep them protected and warm.
- If there is a need to travel, carry hot water bottles and portable heat pads. You can also carry a flask of hot drink to keep yourself extra warm and comfortable.
- Keep the home insulated from cold and well heated. Keeping the windows and doors closed in such a weather can help preserve the heat inside.
- Maintain a healthy diet by including plenty of fruits and eating hot meals. One good important thing is to remain hydrated. This helps to keep the energy levels of the body up and running to deal with the cold weather.
- Staying physically active helps improve the circulation of the blood, generating heat and makes one feel better in cold.
- Don’t be carried away by the fact that alcohol helps keep the body warm. It makes one think they are warm because of the red cheeks which is only due to the dilation of peripheral blood vessels that allows blood to flow through such areas. Instead of warming the body, alcohol takes the much-needed heat and blood away from the core organs and major parts of the body.
- It is ideal to avoid going out in the cold if you suffer from issues associated with cold weather, it is best to ask a family member or a friend to help with errands.
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