When it comes comes to an upcoming winter, some lupus patients experience anxiety in regards to the cooler weather changes. If you are like some lupus warriors, you may even seriously consider heading south for half of the year. Unfortunately, that option is not much of an option for most of us, so we decided to create a list of lupus tips for winter. These tips are meant to help you prepare for winter and keep your lupus and health in check throughout these cooler months.
Lupus Tips for Winter
1. Wear Sunscreen
It is estimated that around 2/3 or people with lupus suffer from photosensitivity. While many lupus patients are very good about wearing sunscreen in the summer, many do not know of the importance of wearing sunscreen in the winter months as well. Just because the air is cooler does not mean the sun’s harmful UV rays are not radiating as powerful as they did in previous months. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen can help prevent lupus flares if you are sensitive to the sun. You can check out our article on our favorite lupus sunscreen here.
2. Use Hand Sanitizer
Using hand sanitizer often can help prevent the transfer of various bacteria and viruses. It is recommended to use a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 60%. Non alcohol hand sanitizers do not work as well as those with at least 60% alcohol content. As a lupus patient, you should already be practicing good hand washing skills, but using hand sanitizer afterwards can help ensure that lingering bacteria and viruses are eradicated.
Directions for using hand sanitizer via the CDC:
3. Get a Flu Shot
The flu shot has become somewhat of a controversial topic in today’s society, but we can not stress enough the importance of lupus patients receiving their flu shot every winter. Each year the flu kills thousands of people. Many of these people have health issues like lupus and may be taking medications that suppress their immune systems. With a weakened and unstable immune system, the patient may be unable to fight the flu virus like most people. The flu can also lead to serious complications like pneumonia that are also very dangerous in people with lupus. Talk to your rheumatologist today about the benefits and risks of getting your flu shot. Most insurances cover or offer with low co-pays. A lot of retail pharmacies and county health departments can also offer the flu vaccine at a lower cost.
4. Purchase Thermal Gloves
If you are in the 1/3 of lupus patients who have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome, purchasing thermal gloves is essential in the winter. Lupus-related Raynaud’s usually results from inflammation of nerves or blood vessels and is triggered by stress or by cold temperatures. Raynaud’s is a serious condition and can be damaging to lupus patients. Consider purchasing a high quality thermal gloves that offers extreme weather protection. Look for gloves that are able to withstand negative temperatures to help ensure your hands will stay warm all winter. You can check out our favorite thermal gloves below!
OZERO Winter Gloves -30°F Cold Proof Thermal Driving Glove – Insulated Cotton and Windproof Membrane, Warm Hands in Cold Weather for Men and Women
5. Use Antibacterial Wipes
Antibacterial wipes are a great way to prevent yourself from catching various viruses and infections this winter. You can use wipes at home when you are cleaning to help ensure that your home surfaces are bacteria and virus free. It is also really important to use these antibacterial wipes when you are in public places, especially when shopping. Shopping carts in stores are one of the easiest places for a lupus patient to catch a new bug. If you shop at stores that do not offer complimentary antibacterial wipes for their carts, buy a travel pack and carry them in your wallet or purse. This small tip will help minimize the chances of you picking up a bug.
6. Drink Hot Green Tea
The infatuation with green tea has grown exponentially in the last decade and for right reasons. Green tea has been the star of many scientific papers and research studies. In 2017, there was a study conducted on the benefits of green tea and lupus.
According to the study:
Green tea extract supplementation significantly reduced disease activity in lupus patients; in addition, it significantly increased the vitality and general health. This study showed that daily consumption of green tea extracts for 12 weeks improves the systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity as well as some aspects of quality of life.
So when you are about to brew that morning coffee, stop and think about the amazing aroma of freshly brewed green tea and give it a try. When you come in from outside and want something quick and delicious to warm your soul and body, try some hot green tea and help your lupus as well.