(February is #RaynaudsAwarenessMonth)
On January 22nd, we had a wonderful #LupusChat with @Lupus_Chat and @raynaudsorg for discussing and learning more about Raynauds and how it affects patients.
You have complete information reading Frequently asked questions (what it is, forms, severity, treatments...).
Although it's shocking to see how your fingers suddenly turn white for the very first time, you have to know what to do during an episode:
- Keep calm and remember that it's a reversible process. If you get nervous it will take longer to recover normality.
- Gradually, warm up your hands or feet with warm water until they recover the normal color. Don't use hot water that could erode the skin.
- During an episode don't use hot water bags or hot gel packs: They could damage the skin and the heat must be progressive.
- Put your hands under your armpits to give them warmth.
- Shake your fingers or walk around to activate blood circulation.
- Gently massage into the affected area.
The point is to prevent once you are diagnosed by Raynauds. Here are some tips and tricks:
- Managing stress: Relaxation techniques, leisure activities, professional help (psychologist) ... A startle, a chill ... can also trigger an episode. Exercise also helps to activate the blood circulation (but remember that intensity varies from person to person).
- No Smoking. Tobacco causes vasospasm throughout the body and contributes to the narrowing of blood vessels so they increase attacks. Another reason to quit.
- Avoid medications that narrow the blood vessels (tell your doctor).
- Poor circulation will dry the skin and delay healing of cuts, cracks or sores. That is why we must try to keep it in good condition (especially if there is also Sjögren's Syndrome).
- Keep your skin well hydrated, especially hands and feet (with lanolin based lotions) and care for your nails/toenails (acoid injuries when the nail is cut).
- Dry well between the fingers and toes.
- Observe hands and feet frequently to act in case of cracks, sores or any wound that can produce infections.
- Wear dishwashing gloves for tasks that put you in contact with water.
- Wear natural fibers such as cotton and wool.
- Keep the whole body warm (not just hands and feet). Good shelter, especially in winter, with layers of loose clothing.
- Wear a hat or cap when it is cold; Most heat is lost through the head (lupies win! We use them as protection from the sun).
- Cover your face and ears when it's cold.
- Wear mittens better than gloves. In interior and to drive ground use fingerless mittens to be able to write, to use the computer or the mobile ... (I don't do those things while driving, keep calm). I have a 2x1: Mittens with mitten that is removed and gets :)
- Wear suitable shoe that isolates from the cold and does not cause blisters, using fat socks or two thin (be careful not to rub).
- Wear a sweater, shawl or fine garment that can be used at any time in summer (the air conditioning of the cinemas, public transport ... cause abrupt changes in temperature).
- Wear gloves or socks if your hands and feet get very cold when you sleep. Baby booties, please.
- Use flannel sheets and layers enough of blankets (be careful with weight because when you have pain and fatigue, fighting the warm clothes is an extra effort). Warm up the bed before going to sleep to avoid cold sheets (a hairdryer is useful but be careful not to overheat, or it will be broken). Don't fall asleep with a electric blanket on.
- Find your room temperature and keep it throughout the year. Good for the environment, but good for your pocket too.
- Let the water run until it comes out hot. Keep the bath warm with steam.
- Avoid going outdoors during the coldest hours (as a lupie person it's complicated because I take advantage of the first and last hour of the day for walking due to photosensitivity).
- Avoid glasses of cold drinks, freezer drawers, supermarket's coldline... use mittens, dishcloth or something to insulate.
- Use hot water bags or electric blankets when necessary. Physioterapists use hot paraffin films to relieve pain in the hands. I wrap them with a reusable gel bag that can be used in cold or hot. You have to pay attention to the microwave (first, the bag could explode and two, in order to avoid to burn yourself when apply it). Don't use it directly on the skin; You can wrap the bag with a clean towel or cloth and then cover your hands.
- Now you understand why I say that the best moment of day is to warm my hands with a cup of coffee or tea. Feeling warm hands and relieving joint pain for a little while is a plus.
- Moderate caffeine and alcohol consumption. Oops.
A8: Digits became ischemic and while we saved some, these didn't make it #LupusChat pic.twitter.com/Z9vPwKMlEP— Carly by Nature (@SynceNerd_Carli) 22 de enero de 2017
Don't doubt to see your doctor right away if you have severe Raynaud's and develop a sore or infection in affected fingers or toes.
Special thanks to @TiffanyAndLupus.
Translation from #135 Raynaud es un fenómeno
Pictures: By Domando Al Lobo.
Pictures: By Carly by Nature.
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