Other Conditions

During the winter months it can be hard to stay on top of things if you have Scleroderma or Raynaud's, but you may have other conditions too which may make things even harder. Here are a few tips for winter that you may find useful to help you stay healthy and in good shape.

Arthritis

Similar to Scleroderma and Raynaud's, arthritis is another auto-immune condition which particularly effects people of older age. Many people with arthritis say their joints become more painful in winter, though it's not clear why this is the case, as joint symptoms such as pain and stiffness are affected by the weather, but there's no evidence that says changes in the weather cause joint damage.

Our top tip for winter: The winter months can make everyone a little depressed, and this can make us perceive pain more acutely, particularly if you have a medical condition. Daily exercise has shown to boost our mental and physical wellbeing, and swimming is ideal as it's easy on the joints for people with arthritis. Here's some information on exercising if you have a condition.

Asthma

Asthma can be an associated condition to Scleroderma and Raynaud's. Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should think about being especially careful in winter.

Top tip: Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth. Be extra vigilant about taking your regular medications, and keep rescue inhalers close by and in a warm place. Whilst indoors you could practise some relaxation exercises to alleviate symptoms or gentle movements to keep warm.

Cold sores

Most of us recognise that cold sores are a sign that we're run down or under stress. While there's no cure for cold sores, you can reduce the chances of getting one by looking after yourself through winter.

Top tip: Every day, do things that make you feel less stressed, such as having a hot bath, going for a walk in the park, eat healthily or watching one of your favourite films. Read more information on nutrition.

Dry skin

Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter particularly for people with Scleroderma and Raynaud's, when environmental humidity is low. Moisturising is essential during winter. Use emollients or ointments to moisturise the skin as they act as a sealant to stop the skin's natural moisture evaporating away. The best time to apply moisturiser is after a bath or shower while your skin is still moist, and again at bedtime.

Top tip: Have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot makes skin feel more dry and itchy. Also use an emollient wash to help protect the skin and stop natural oils from being washed away. Read more information on the skin.

Winter

Raynaud's

Raynaud's is a common condition that can make your fingers and toes change colour and become very painful in cold weather. Fingers can go white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle.

Top tip: Try and avoid smoking or drinking caffeine (they can both worsen symptoms) and always wear warm gloves, socks and shoes when going out in cold weather. Have a look in our shop to see if there's something that can help with keeping warm.


Sore throats

Sore throats are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections. There's some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the icy outdoors, can also affect the throat.

Top tip: One quick and easy remedy for a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. It won't heal the infection, but it has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a soothing effect. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water. Read more information about oral health.


Winter

Helping others

Look out for each other. If you see a friend or neighbour looking run down, pale or tired, ask if there's anything they need help with, sometimes people just need someone to talk to. Check that they are looking after themselves. If you feel they need help offer them our helpline number which offers confidential help 365 days a year from 9am - 7pm.

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