This afternoon I saw the tell-tale signs of Winter arriving. No, it wasn’t the first frost, or the last leaf dropping from the trees. It wasn’t the darker mornings, or the need for the electric blanket before bed. It started with a tingle in my fingertips as I finished typing for the day; it progressed to an icy cold sensation as I headed out on the school run; and by the time I got home my fingers were white.
I’ve always had cold hands and feet. I remember quite clearly as a teenager doing my homework with a hot water bottle on top of my slippers, to take away the brittle cold in my toes. I can’t sleep at night without fluffy socks – cold feet keep me awake. And no-one likes my hands on their skin in a hug. But the Raynaud’s didn’t kick in until my forties. At first, it was vaguely amusing, this white patch on my finger that required a hot cup of tea to resolve. But over the years it has worsened, until some winter afternoons see me glued to the radiator for half an hour after coming in from the cold.
I’ve googled my symptoms (gangrene being the most worrying), but as always Dr. Google likes to show you the unlikeliest of scenarios, and I think the white numbness is more an inconvenience than a sign of anything alarming. That said, it is annoying, and popping the central heating on simply to warm up your fingers does seem a little excessive.
So I’m super-pleased by my new gloves. Heat Holders are thermal gloves, available from Sock Shop, and get this – they have a tog rating. Now, I liked the idea of a duvet-style warmth for my hands, so I’ve been wearing my new gloves for a while. Because of the layers of lining, they are quite tight across my hands (but then I do have plates for hands), but after a few wears they seemed to stretch to fit more easily. And I really have noticed the difference. My tingly fingers have pretty much disappeared on the cold Autumn afternoons, so I’m holding out great hope for keeping them warm on through the cold and grim school runs of December and (even worse, given the lack of festive lights and mulled wine) January.
Heat Holders sponsor the Raynaud’s Association in the USA, and make thermal socks, gloves, hats and neck warmers, as well as gloves. They even sent me some joint warmers which, given my tendency to run silly distances for charity, could well save my knees this winter! You can find Heat Holders on Facebook, and buy the products online or at lots of retail stores, including Sports Direct, Matalan and Tesco.