5 Tips for Managing Raynaud’s Syndrome Through the Summer
You may think the summer months offer some respite to those who suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome but the warmer months can bring their own set of problems. Many offices, shopping malls, and other public spaces turn on the air conditioning in the warmer weather, which is great for helping you cool down, but many places have the AC turned up so high that it brings on symptoms of Raynaud’s.
However, there are ways that you can protect yourself against the chill as the Raynaud’s Association explains:
Watch the indoor temperature.
While it’s sometimes necessary to put the AC on when temperatures outside are soaring, it doesn’t need to go to the opposite extreme. If you work in a small office, speak to your co-workers about having the AC set at an ambient (and energy-saving) temperature of 78ºF or 79ºF which will be comfortable for everyone.
In areas where you have little input into the temperature setting, be sure to pack extra layers of clothes, pullovers or cardigans, hats, socks, and even gloves and scarves if necessary.
Stress will bring on Raynaud’s symptoms regardless of the weather outside. We know that it’s impossible to completely avoid stress but there are ways that we can limit it and its effects. Take time out to do things that you enjoy that actively help to destress and relax you, like socializing with friends, listening to soothing music, or watching a favorite TV show. Other ways to help manage stress include yoga, Tai Chi, meditating, taking a warm bath, having a massage with essential oils, and breathing exercises.
Look after yourself.
Bad habits such as drinking too much, smoking, and not eating well can all contribute to Raynaud’s symptoms. Smoking cigarettes and drinking caffeinated drinks cause blood vessels to narrow, compounding any symptoms of Raynaud’s. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight will also help avoid certain health problems, including high blood pressure. Those with secondary Raynaud’s due to scleroderma need to be extra vigilant about blood pressure as the syndrome can lead to diseases such as pulmonary hypertension.
As smoking constricts blood flow, exercise does the opposite and improves blood flow, reducing the effects of Raynaud’s. The warmer weather means that you can exercise outdoors, but always wear sunscreen and be careful not to exercise when the sun is at its strongest.
Mind the ice.
Summer drinks are usually served laden with ice, which is great for a refreshing cool down but not so good for your hands if you have Raynaud’s. Either ask for drinks to be served in glasses with handles or stems or invest in an insulated beverage holder.
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