Winter and Lupus: Why do Symptoms Worsen in Cold Weather?

Winter and lupus
Lupus in winter


Winter is a tough time for many lupus warriors. Cold weather can bring lupus flares with it, causing painful flare-ups as blood vessels constrict in the cold to prevent heat loss. As the blood vessels get smaller, the pressure increases in the head, joints, and limbs. Then, you know the rest!

I start feeling the pain in my hands, fingers, toes, and extremities, causing a minor type of frostbite. As the tissues in the fingers and toes are starved of oxygen, they become damaged and begin to hurt badly.

If you get respiratory infections quickly like me, cold air is not your friend either. It holds less moisture than warm air. This can dry out your nasal passages and windpipe, leading to an inflammatory response.

I also feel like I know when the weather is about to change – isn’t that crazy? As storms change the barometric pressure, they can cause symptoms of flares and pain.

Remember, the sunlight reflects snow and ice, increasing UV exposure and triggering symptom flares. My doctor’s suggestion is to continue to use sunblock every day – at home or out.

It’s flu season, too, on top of COVID-19. Talk to your doctor about getting this year’s flu shot and also the pneumonia vaccine. I only learned about the pneumonia vaccine last year, even though I have been blessed to be surrounded by excellent physicians. Go figure!

The most important is to keep warm: dress in layers, protect your skin when going outside, and drink lots of tea. They can help clean your body from toxins, besides being delicious.

Stay at home as much as possible, and avoid crowded places. There is a lot at stake this year.



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