Coping with the winter months and Lupus
By: Kim L.
The winter months can be a difficult time for anyone suffering and dealing with autoimmune diseases, such as Lupus. This winter especially, has been an extremely difficult one due to the various extreme fluctuations in temperature. Due to the unpredictable nature of Lupus, it can be hard to prepare and plan for the future…. But here are some tips and tricks I have gathered over the years to help ease my Lupus symptoms during the cooler months.
Tip #1: Layer your clothing, and if you are leaving the house always pack extra medication! I work far from home (about 25 miles) and I have learned that due to inclement weather I could very well get stuck overnight if the roads do not allow me to get home. I always layer to keep my body warm (I am almost always cold!), and I always carry at least 2 extra days of medication with me in case I get stuck somewhere overnight and cannot make it home! It is simple things like this that can prevent a major problem/flare and keep stress levels low.
Tip #2: Icy Hot! As simple as it seems (being just an over-the-counter and inexpensive topical cream), it works wonders on my achy joints this time of year and helps me get some much needed rest at night as it eases and soothes some of my pain and discomfort.
Tip #3: Epsom salt baths help my inflamed joints, and I find that soaking in a hot bath eases my Raynaud’s and makes my body feel less stiff. Stiffness and joint pain are my two biggest complaints come the colder months and between Epsom salt and icy hot I am learning to cope and manage the pain levels without the use of painkillers.
Tip #4: Keep moving! As hard as it can be (trust me, I know it is difficult on tough days), keep your body moving! Get up off the couch or out of bed and stretch, walk around the house, even if you are not leaving your home- be sure to stretch your body out and keep your joints moving. I notice that my pain levels are higher on days I am more sedentary.
Tip #5: Listen to your body! Regardless of what time of the year it is, listen to your body. If it is telling you something is wrong and your usual go-to treatments are not sufficient, call your doctor. They are there to guide you and help you during your difficult periods/flares. No one knows your body better than you!
About the Blogger: Kim L. is a 26 year old full time teacher with SLE Lupus. She was diagnosed in June 2009.