After SCI, the signals to regulate temperature are no longer interpreted by the brain. For me, temperature regulation or adjustment is tricky. The first rule of thumb for staying warm is to get lots of insulation between my skin and the environment. I keep in mind clothing that will allow me to shed layers as I warm up (or go inside).
Here's how I layer up for comfortable, effective warmth:
- Wear long underwear. (sometimes referred to as thermal underwear)
Synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene work best for me. Cotton is a poor choice for me because it tends to absorb water and can cool the skin instead of insulating.
- Keep my torso toasty.
Down, Polarguard®, Holofill®, Thinsulate™, and Primaloft® are the types of insulation I look for on material tags. Bonus tip: Don’t buy cheap! For years I looked for cheap substitutions (I’m a bargain hunter) for my insulation layer. Once my husband ‘gifted’ me with a well-made, fairly expensive down jacket, it was a game changer. The jacket has last for years and absolutely keeps my core warm. It is worth every penny!
- Don’t Forget Your Feet
For me, MukLuk® slippers are a great way to keep your feet warm while indoors. These slippers have been my most used Christmas gift ever. Alpaca socks are another favorite of mine and they are 100% natural. Use these socks with lined boots for your cold winter activities.
- Cover Your Head
Embrace the omnipresent beanie, also known as a tuque, bobcap, knit hat, or knit cap. A second option is the ushanka, or as it’s known in the Western world, the trooper or Trapper’s hat. Some have fur lining and ear flaps that can be tied to at the chin to protect the ears and lower chin from the cold.
Thankfully, yours truly lives in the south. It’s rare that I have to deal with freezing temps – except for this year!
But for those of you that do deal with the existential crisis inducing cold, layer like an onion - take heed and stay warm!
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0118/0606