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Staying Warm in Cold Weather with Sickle Cell

It is December, which means that the cold winds are upon those of us in North America. No matter where you live, chances are, there are some cold, frigid days headed your way this month.

Cold can be a trigger of sickle cell crises, because when you are cold, your body goes into a protective mode, and shunts blood from your non-essential body parts to your important organs. This process is done through vasoconstriction, which means your blood vessels become narrower. This means that sickled cells now have a great opportunity to clog up the narrow blood circulatory pathway.
So it’s important that sickle cell warriors bundle up and stay warm during the winter.

There are many important things to know about staying warm and toasty. Besides the obvious, staying inside and hibernating all season…lol. Here are a couple of tips to help you on your way.

Try light fabrics that are layered multiple times. This way when you get indoors, you can remove a couple of layers and not swelter. Remember, when you get too hot, and start to sweat, leading to dehydration which could then lead to a crises if not reversed. So it’s important to stay hydrated during these cold months.

Silk long johns/undershirts are good for keeping body heat close in your body. 100% cashmere is expensive, but lightweight and warm enough to layer with another sweater on top for those extra chilly climes. I usually wear my silk tight pants and under shirt, a regular shirt on top, a cashmere sweater and another bigger, bulky sweater to keep toasty up top.

Cover your head, since 75% of body heat is lost through the head.

Tuck your silk long johns into your socks. Go for wool socks versus cotton ones. Wear leg warmers if you are going to be standing outside for a long time on top or under your jeans. My knees are very suspect to the cold, so I often wear some leg warmers around my knees for added protection.

Wrap a winter scarf around your neck and snuggle into your big winter coat. Try coats that are lined, or filled with some goose down, wind resistant, as well as long enough to cover most of your body.

Wear gloves. If your hands, head and face are warm, often, you don’t feel as cold. Remember, we are prone to having pain crises in our hands, so some fur-lined gloves would be just the thing.

Share your tips in the comments section.

Hopefully this will protect you from the harshest of the elements. Stay warm everyone!


About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin's message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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    IHATESC December 07, 14:55

    I leave my summer tank tops & baby tshirts out all year round. I wear them underneath long sleeved shirts & sweaters for extra insulation. I find that it’s helpful in preventing cold air from getting to the chest and back area. When I am working at my desk I place a sweater over my knees 🙂

    I have heard about the silk thermals. I will have to try those out..

  2. suzi
    suzi February 12, 14:07

    I am having a really hard time getting warm once I come in from the cold the office I sit in my winter coat and hat and get teased.. but without that my legs are in pain. I am anxious for spring,but wonder why exactly this winter has become so hard on my body. As for coworkers not understanding, I just accept the teasing.

    IHATESC February 14, 19:49

    I have purchased the silk thermals and I LOVE THEM!!! Actually I find myself burning up sometimes at my desk 🙂 I purchased several pair at my local Meijer store.

  4. Gzuslover
    Gzuslover February 22, 03:18

    I really have to try those silk thermals out. I am a film-maker, and I used to choose the obvious hibernate for winter when I was younger and no bills to worry about. But now as a 25 year old female I have be on the move, which sometimes causes me to be out in the cold for a few hours. What I do is, I where layers, and tights are my best friend for this Northeast Cold. I also drink Rasberry tea constantly. I try to stay away from cold drinks as that can also trigger a crisis. Winter doesn’t have to mean suffering, I know it’s not always fashionable to look like an Eskimo, but it’s way better than having a hospital admission. Thanks 4 the advice!

  5. Scdntstpme
    Scdntstpme November 28, 01:49

    In the winter long johns are my favorite. I also rock thermos and bundle up layers and drink hot chocolate and lots of water to stay hydrated. I am a fashion king boots and better. Sickle cell dnt stop me durin the winter months.

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