Hey Everyone I hope that everyone is well and so far is experiencing a great 2013! For those living in the UK, as I am you may be aware that the country has been affected by snow and icy conditions; schools have closed here in Wales because of widespread icy conditions therefore making driving hazardous. I know for many, snow brings joy and happiness – the picturesque scenes that it creates as well enjoying snowball fights and so on. However, for many people; those in similar circumstances such as myself, it can create anxiety, even leaving some housebound during these weather conditions. For example, this morning I had an appointment at the dentist; however, I was unable to attend because where I live was extremely icy because of the ice that developed overnight. Myself, as well as my parents were concerned due to my impaired mobility and balance problems that I was at a high risk of a fall…I am very fortunate that despite the numerous and often severe falls that I have experienced, I have not broken any bones, so we did not want to risk anything that may potentially break this record!! The Winter can be a difficult time for anyone with a neurological condition like mine; especially as the very cold weather can make the spasticity in my legs worse than usual. As well, as heightening the nerve pain. So, what are some of the ways in which those like me with neurological conditions can cope with the icy and winter conditions? Here are some tips that I have found from magazines and the internet:
- Keep warm! Extra layers such as thermal underwear can keep the heat in, and stop symptoms such as nerve pain from getting worse because of the very cold weather. And don’t forget to keep hands and feet warm with thick socks and gloves as well as a warm winter coat, hat and a scarf when out and about.
- If the nerve pain is confined to a particular region in your body, then make sure that region is well protected from the cold as the cold can heighten the amount of pain experienced
- Hot water bottles and heat pads can be extremely useful for extra warmth – or perhaps, use an extra thick blanket, or invest in a ‘slanket’ which is a blanket with sleeves and even some has a pocket for your feet! Great for keeping warm when watching TV on those very cold nights!
- Keep your home warm – the ideal temperature for your home during the winter month is between 18ºC and 21ºC. And the bedroom at night should be kept above 18ºC
- Stay active as it increases the circulation and generate heat
- If nerve pain is much worse during the winter months than perhaps it would be a good idea to speak to your doctor for extra medication to help during these months
- If it isn’t necessary than it may be an idea to stay indoors especially if you experience problems with balance in order to prevent falls
- If you do have to go out for any reason than make sure you wear appropriate footwear; for example flat footwear with rubber soles provides better traction on the snow and ice than leather soled footwear or high-heeled shoes
- Where possible make sure that you use handrails
- Take small steps in order to keep your centre of balance and walk slowly
- Avoid carrying heavy shopping bags, especially on steps
For more information:
- The Brain and Spine Foundation has a factsheet on how to survive the Cold Weather: Cold Weather Tips for people with Neurological Conditions
- NI Direct gives advice on how to avoid slips and falls in icy conditions
How do you cope during the Winter months; and particularly when there is snow and icy conditions? Are there any other advice you can give to cope during these hazardous weather conditions?