Raynaud's Self-Help Strategies
Doctors typically recommend measures that patients can do themselves when dealing with Raynaud's. Self-help strategies that can be used to help treat or avoid Raynaud's attacks include: taking action during an attack, keeping warn, and learning to control stress. By learning these and other Raynaud's self-help strategies, you can better control the situation during an attack and avoid potential complications.
What Are Raynaud's Self-Help Strategies?
Several non-drug treatments and self-help measures can decrease the severity of Raynaud's attacks and promote overall well-being. These Raynaud's self-help strategies include:
- Taking action during an attack
- Keeping warm
- Controlling stress
- Not smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Seeing a doctor if questions or concerns arise.
An attack should not be ignored. Its length and severity can be lessened by a few simple actions. The first and most important action is to warm the hands or feet. In cold weather, people should go indoors. Running warm water over the fingers or toes or soaking them in a bowl of warm water will warm them. Taking time to relax will further help to end the attack. If a stressful situation triggers the attack, a person can help stop the attack by getting out of the stressful situation and relaxing. People who are trained in biofeedback can use this technique, along with warming the hands or feet in water, to help lessen the attack.
It is important not only to keep the extremities warm, but also to avoid chilling any part of the body. In cold weather, people with Raynaud's phenomenon must pay particular attention to dressing. Several layers of loose clothing, socks, hats, and gloves or mittens are recommended. A hat is important, because a great deal of body heat is lost through the scalp. Feet should be kept dry and warm. Some people find it helpful to wear mittens and socks to bed during winter. Chemical warmers, such as small heating pouches that can be placed in pockets, mittens, boots, or shoes, can give added protection during long periods outdoors. People who have secondary Raynaud's phenomenon should talk to their doctors before exercising outdoors in cold weather.
People with Raynaud's phenomenon should also be aware that air conditioning could trigger attacks. Turning down the air conditioning or wearing a sweater may help prevent attacks. Some people find it helpful to use insulated drinking glasses and to put on gloves before handling frozen or refrigerated foods.