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GUEST POST: Warm Gift Ideas for Those with Raynaud’s Phenomenon

We are very thankful to Lynn from the Raynaud's Association for this great guest post!

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Do you have friends or family members who always seem cold? Even in warmer months? Maybe their hands feel frozen when you greet them, or their fingers appear zombie white or bluish-purple for no reason? Chances are these are people with a little known but widespread medical condition called Raynaud’s Phenomenon. And, since this is the season for cold weather, it’s a great time to think about warm gift ideas for friends and family members with Raynaud’s.

First, it helps to know a little bit about the disorder: Raynaud’s affects an estimated 5 to 10% of the population. The large majority of sufferers are female (90%), and most (90%) are unaware they have the disorder – they just think they have poor circulation, which in most cases is not the case. Raynaud’s is a natural body reaction, it’s an exaggerated version of the Fight or Flight Response: when the body is threatened by extreme cold or stress, the blood vessels in the extremities (e.g., fingers and toes) shut down in order to send the blood to your core to protect the vital organs. For the average person, this might occur when it’s -30° or someone threatens them with a gun; for someone with Raynaud’s, it can occur at 60 or 70° or after a bad day at work.

In the process of a Raynaud’s “attack,” the fingers, toes or other extremity (nose, ears) turn white as the blood rushes away towards the body’s core, possibly blue from the lack of oxygen, then – as they get warm or become calm again – fingers or toes may turn red as the blood rushes back quickly. The process can involve pain, numbness and other physical discomforts, but generally, it’s not a serious ailment. However, for a small minority of sufferers (10%), it’s a by-product of a more serious autoimmune disease such as lupus, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis. It can result from exposure to toxins or chemo treatments. Or be associated with repetitive pressure to the fingertips in which case it’s referred to as Vibration White Finger and affects specific occupations and professions, including construction workers, pianists, stenographers, dentists, and others.

OK, now you have the background. The numbers of “Frosties” in the population is huge, so you likely have a few of these folks on your shopping list for the holidays. What are some great gift ideas that will bring them warm smiles this season?

Here are some to consider:

Heated Apparel - This category includes heated gloves, socks, jackets, vests, even slippers! And they now make heated hoodies and muff-like products with warmer pockets that help protect sensitive hands from the cold. The heat source for these products can include rechargeable batteries or microwaveable inserts that provide heavenly heat for many hours of warmth. Portable Heat Products – In this category are disposable heat packs for fingers and toes (HotHands and Grabber are well-known brands), hand-held warmers with rechargeable batteries or use refillable fuel (Zippo hand Warmers) and space heaters. Space heaters offer welcome warmth when disrobing for a bath or when in need of a warming respite from freezing air-conditioned offices in summer. Newer products on the market are finding creative ways to support the hands-free use of portable heat packs nestled inside strategically positioned hoodie pockets (by the ears/core/sleeves) and pouches looped around fingers and palms allowing great dexterity. Heated Home Products – This group includes electric blankets and heated mattress pads, along with heated throws and blanket shawls for cold couch potatoes. These are products Frosties can use and appreciate every day! Warm Accessories – Certain natural materials offer soft, comfortable protective warmth, including cashmere, alpaca and merino wool. Faux fur, Sherpa and Polar fleece also provide huggable warmth. Scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, socks, shawls and ponchos in these fabrics can help tamp down the shivers with temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking benefits while making a fun fashion statement. Many gloves now are touch-screen sensitive, which is a great feature for those who can’t comfortably expose their frozen paws to catch an email or type a text.

The above categories aren’t mutually exclusive: Hit a home run when you gift wrap a heated hat or heated scarf this season!

I hope the thoughts above come in handy when you’re planning your holiday shopping list. For more ideas for the cold-sensitive folks on your gift list, check out our blog post Best Gifts for Frosties and our Raynaud’s Marketplace for lots of warm product reviews.

Use code "Raynauds10" for 10% off your order!

Again, thanks Raynaud's Association for this great post! Stay Warm Everyone!

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