Low-Tech Solution

One of the biggest challenges I face every day, especially during the winter, but also in transitional seasons, is keeping my hands warm. Temps need to be well into the 70s before I don’t have to offset my Raynaud’s spasms with layers of clothes.

For many years now, one of my best solutions has been fleece wrist warmers. My favorite brand is Wristies®, which are soft, affordable and come in multiple lengths, colors and styles. (And no, I do not get any kind of finder’s fee for promoting them. I just like them a lot and have a half dozen pairs that I mix and match with my outfits.)

But my Wristies, alone, are not really enough when the weather is cold or fluctuating. This fall, as I was trying to help my hands to heal from all the surgery, I hit on a low tech solution that works very well: I fold up the Wristie like a cuff and insert a disposable hand warmer.

I would have preferred something recyclable. But no reusable hand warmers that I found online were satisfactory. There are some brands that work on lighter fluid, which held absolutely no appeal. I tried a style that you snap to mix chemicals inside the plastic pouch to generate heat (you boil them to recharge), but they didn’t work. And I wanted something that was small, comfortable and long-lasting.

So that’s how I came upon Heat Factory hand warmers, which are packaged in pairs and come 40 to a box. When removed from their wrappers, they just need a little shake and last all day. I place the packs in the Wristie “cuffs” on the inside of my wrists, next to the blood vessels near the skin, and they provide gentle, steady heat that keeps my fingers nice and rosy, even when I’m typing.

The arrangement works best when I’m wearing a long-sleeved sweater with ribbed cuffs that I can pull over the Wristie, which helps to keep the hand warmer in place. I do believe this has helped me to avoid more ulcers over the winter (right now, only have one on my left thumb that is healing from yet another infection).

The other, obvious solution is exercise, of course. I must admit, I haven’t been moving as much as I need to in the cold weather. Have to get back to those daily walks. For solitary, sedentary work at my computer, however, as well as driving and even walking around on chilly days, this low-tech combo is win-win. Hope it helps you, too.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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