Regulate your temperature this winter

Winter can prove a challenge for those who struggle with temperature control due to a spinal cord injury – or other affliction. Aside from the cold and rain, homes, offices and shopping centres often make use of heaters to warm the room. This can present a challenge as one moves from the cold outdoors to the warm indoors.

As the body struggles to regulate its own temperature, and with a loss of sensation, it is up to you to make sure your body is kept at the right temperature. Fortunately, there are some easy tips to help regulate your body’s temperature.

Wear layers

This might seem obvious, but layers allow you to have much more control. You can add a layer when in a cooler room or remove it when in a warmer place. Consider a cardigan, sweater or jacket. Ideally, you should have more than one or two layers as you might find yourself somewhere between warm and cold.

It is not as easy to remove a layer of pants, for example. Perhaps consider carrying a blanket to throw over your legs if you are in a cooler environment. Be wearying of using hot water bottles to warm our legs – especially when you have a loss of sensation. You might burn and cause harm. If you opt for a bottle, perhaps time yourself and only leave it on for five or 10 minutes at a time.

Stay dry

Wet clothing in cool air can result in a dramatic drop in your body’s temperature. In addition, it can result in your skin becoming overly wet, which increases the risk of developing pressure ulcers (sores). Preventing your clothes from getting wet might include avoiding travel when it is particularly rainy, wearing rain-protective clothing and using an umbrella.

However, wet clothes could also be caused by sweating, If your body is still prone to sweating, but you have a loss of sensation (for example, in your feet), be sure to check the area regularly for sweat. Perhaps carry a spare item of clothing (for example, socks) so that you can swap out the sweaty clothes if necessary.

Know the signs

It is important to know when your body is too warm or too cold so that you might make adjustments. When too warm, you might suffer headaches or feel dizzy. When too cold, your teeth will chatter. These signs are often when the body has already dropped in temperature. When this occurs, take immediate action.

If your body fails to warm up or cool down, consult a doctor as it could be a sign of something else entirely (perhaps a cold or infection).

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