Category Archives: Cold

Keeping Warm in a “Polar Vortex”

I am writing you from what the weather people are referring to as the “polar vortex”. It sounds like   something straight out a science fiction novel, but it’s more of a horror story if you ask me. The temperature outside is currently -14 degrees and the high today is supposed to be 0. That isn’t even factoring in the wind chill. You don’t want to know about the wind chill. We also have about 18 inches of snow.

I do not like cold weather. My Daddy lived in Florida for years before I was born, and had he met my mother there, I might have been a beach bunny; instead, he came home to Michigan and I was born in a state where phrases like polar vortex are coined. My Cerebral Palsy does not make the cold any easier; as soon as the temperature drops below freezing, my muscles tense up so much that I can barely move and my joints begin to give me grief. So you can imagine that my number one priority during this record breaking weather event has been to stay warm.

The first few days were easy. I was off work and spent my days in my sewing room where it is nice and toasty. Tuesday, however, I had to return to work, which meant I had to grit my teeth and face the cold weather head on. I was only going to be outside for a few minutes, but in subzero temperatures, that’s all it takes for your skin to freeze. So I made sure I was well prepared.

Two of the most essential items you need in order to keep warm in weather like this are a scarf and a hat. A scarf is important because it helps keep your airways warm, which makes it easier to breathe; and it helps to warm the air around your nose and mouth so that your lungs don’t get shocked by that super cold air. I would recommend a knitted scarf made of wool or other warm material. Your head is where you lose the majority of your body heat, according to my mother and many others, so a hat will keep your body heat where it belongs, in your body.

The next item in my cold weather armory is my Omni-Heat jacket by Columbia. It is lined with a shiny material that helps trap your body heat and consists of two layers, making it both warm and waterproof. It also has these neat little hand protectors attached to the sleeves that fit over your thumbs to help keep the air from blowing up your sleeves. This is a huge problem when I am using my power chair because my arms are usually in a position where the air can blow right in. It also keeps the snow out of my sleeves when I fall.

One thing I really have to keep warm is my legs. My sister and I both have scrawny legs, but mine are extra scrawny do to my CP. In these temperatures, I would love to be able to wear my fleece lined jeans, but they are not exactly appropriate for work. Instead I wear fleece leggings under my work pants along with calf length socks and high boots.

Despite all these layers I am still cold and cannot wait to get home and bury myself under a pile of warm blankets and cats; but until then, I at least know I won’t freeze to death. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a polar vortex, stay inside. But if you can’t, these essentials should help keep you safe and at least a little warmer.

Brrrrrrrrr…cold weather is coming !

In 1978 I moved to North Carolina from New York State. It took about two years before I became accustomed to the heat here but I was happy to find that the winters were quite temperate. As I look back on that I find that the weather had remained pretty much the same but my tolerance of it has changed drastically.

Even though we hardly ever get the bone-chilling cold weather that so many of you do, I still dread winter time. The arthritis in my hands, which I hardly feel in summer, acts up with a vengeance the colder it gets. My feet never seem to be warm enough, despite doubling up on socks, and my nose is red and cold to the touch…i.e., I’m miserable!

Luckily I have a blogger friend who had the same complaints but she did something about it and she shared it with me. The miracle cure that she uses is called “Hot Hands

If you are a hunter or an avid outdoors person you probably know all about them but I did not. These little gems are very inexpensive and can be used in many ways.

The hand warmers are just what it says …heat for warming your hands and all you do is shake the packet and insert it in your gloves or pocket. The heat is air activated and will warm you for up to 10 hours. Then you simply dispose of it as you would any garbage, the ingredients will not harm the environment according to the manufacturer.

They recommend that the larger body warmers and foot warmers not be applied directly against your skin but that was no problem for me. I actually used a body warmer as a sort of experiment recently and it worked wonders. I have just gone through a horrendous bout with Shingles and, although it is getting better, I still have one spot on my back that is painful. I had a Lidocaine patch on it but it didn’t seem to be doing much so I stuck one of the body warmers to my blouse exactly where it would cover the patch. The heat felt wonderful and I think it activated the Lidocaine because the pain seemed to dissipate within an hour.

Comfort is my number one goal this winter and since I’m stocking up on “Hot Hands” warmers for every part of my body I’m sure I’ll reach it..

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