Medical Matters > Symptom: Cold Extremities

ME Essential Winter 2020


Like most people with ME/CFS I‘m very sensitive to changes in temperature and find the cold winter weather is very difficult to deal with. So do you have any tips on keeping warm when it gets really cold?


Problems with thermoregulation (= temperature control) are very common in ME/CFS. It’s important to make sure that you don’t have another medical problem – hypothyroidism in particular – that could be causing problems with temperature control when you are really feeling the cold. So do talk to your doctor before concluding that this is ‘just another ME/CFS problem’. Your GP can do a simple blood test to check your thyroid function and examine your pulses and circulation. Here are some self-help tips on dealing with cold weather:

  • Avoid touching cold surfaces and objects and wear insulated gloves for the fridge or freezer.
  • After a bath leave the water in while you dress it will still give off heat to help keep you warm.
  • Use a hairdryer for warming clothes and shoes.
  • Stop smoking – smoking can reduce the temperature by one degree over a 20 minute period.
  • Use warm air hand dryers when in public places.
  • Keep clothes and shoes for the next day in the airing cupboard.
  • Alcohol in moderation can help to stimulate the circulation but do not mix alcohol with medication (yes – most people with ME/CFS are alcohol intolerant)
  • Keep doors closed, an open front door can drastically reduce the temperature in your house.
  • Use shoulder bags – not bags with handles as these can restrict blood flow to the fingers.

More Information


Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.

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