I’ve been asking on social media for your tips for keeping warm in the winter months with M.E. and have had some great suggestions, which I’ve summarised here.
One of the symptoms of M.E. is poor temperature control, so we have difficulties in both staying cool in the summer and keeping warm in the winter.
Being at home most, if not all, of the time and needing to keep warm can mean huge energy bills for people with long term conditions. The UK government runs the Warm Home Discount Scheme for people in this situation.
To be eligible you need to be in receipt of certain benefits but unfortunately this isn’t automatically given to you, so it must be applied for via your energy company, as soon as possible. For winter 2016 to 2017, you could get £140 off your electricity bill. To find out more check out the GOV.UK pages here or your energy company’s website. The information may say income-related/means-tested benefits but I found that the form itself also included contribution-based benefits too, if that is your only income. If you aren’t eligible, it’s still worth calling your energy supplier to see if they can help.
Some people with M.E. may also have Raynaud’s, where the extremities, such as fingers, toes or nose, change colour and become very painful and numb in the cold weather. You can find more information on the Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association’s website here.
If you lose the feeling in your skin it’s important that you don’t use things that are too hot to warm them up, as you could inadvertently burn yourself and not feel it, so bear this in mind when using the tips below.
Moving on to your great tips!
- Have several hot water bottles on the go
- Disposable or reusable handwarmers
- Put your clothes on the radiator before bed so they’re warm for getting dressed in the morning
- Lots of snuggly fluffy throws, sheepskins and blankets
- Set an electric blanket on a timer to heat up about half an hour before bed and before getting up
- Use a heated throw
- Always have a hot drink on the go to warm your hands on
- Eat hot meals, starting with porridge for breakfast
- Wear lots of layers and if going out wear scarves, hats/beanies and gloves
- Gloves can be impractical at home, so try wrist warmers or fingerless gloves
- Have more than one microwaveable wheat bag so that there’s always a warm one ready to use
- Get your boiler serviced, or replaced via a grant scheme if it’s an old one, to make sure it’s working efficiently
I hope you’ve found these tips useful! If you’d like to leave your tips for others in the comment section below I’ll incorporate them into this list.