Take pity on those who suffer from the cold – NWAOnline

Posted: December 22, 2019 at 11:44 am

Winter's official arrival this weekend is not welcomed by those of us who experience cold more severely than others.

I'm unfortunate to be one of the so-called cold-natured who feel chilled when everyone is getting along just fine; we are often ridiculed and heartily despised by warmer brethren for our tiresome complaints.

This isn't limited to winter. I'm cold for most of the summer because of aggressive air-conditioning, which requires me to schlep around sweaters and fleeces to restaurants, movie theaters, shopping venues, early morning outings with my dogs, and my newspaper office, where I persuaded our kindly and accommodating building manager to disconnect the fan that was blowing chilled air on me (I was long ago banned from messing with the thermostat outside my door, which also controls the temperature in a nearby conference room usually filled with warm-natured colleagues).

Wearing summery sleeveless dresses to work is out of the question. Soft flannel throws are easily found draped on furniture around my house year-round.

Right now, in December, the temperature in the newsroom is set on 70 degrees. I'm wearing a V-neck sweater over which is draped a thick gray mohair cardigan (the sort of ugly pilling garment that no one would ever wear when out in public). I'm clutching a HotHands single use air-activated heat pack, which keeps my fingers warm but makes it difficult to type. (It's also hard to type when one's index finger is numb.)

This is apparently all my fault.

According to the The Conversation, an online community of more than 93,200 academics and researchers from 3,044 institutions, most of us who are healthy but claim to feel excessively cold "have only ourselves to blame. We have habituated ourselves to feeling comfortably warm. In the developed world we rarely expose ourselves to cold, letting expensive clothing protect us from outdoor cold and letting power companies warm our living and working spaces." (My raggy office sweater, purchased at a recycled clothing store, was definitely not expensive, but I get the point.)

Noting that we allow power companies to do the work that our metabolism is supposed to do, "We'd probably all be much better off if we spent more time being cold," concludes The Conversation.

Easy for the website to say; I grew up in northern Ohio, where the type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder is alive and well. Winter is deeper, colder, darker, longer and snowier on the edge of Lake Erie than it is in central Arkansas, so presumably I would have arrived here physically and psychologically able to cope with far less frosty conditions.

While I was delighted my first year here by the ability to sit poolside in a bikini at the end of March (we didn't fear skin cancer then like we do now), I didn't find such adaptations to exist, let alone do me any good.

WebMD comes to the defense of cold-natured sufferers in an online submission titled Why Am I Cold? Possible causes include anemia (not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout he body), hypothyroidism (the body doesn't make enough thyroid hormone, which controls metabolism; a sluggish metabolism can result in feeling chilled), blood vessel problems such as Raynaud's disease (spasms of narrowing arteries to the fingers and toes), diabetes (can cause kidney damage resulting in diabetic nephropathy, a symptom of which is feeling cold all the time), and anorexia.

Like most medical sites, WebMD recommends you check with your doctor. I like my family physician just fine, but figure I'm better off by investing in a puffy down jacket (reversible from navy blue to screaming yellow), quilted pull-on fleece-lined boots (on sale for $18--probably because they're purple--that are supposed to be waterproof, but they're not), furry ear muffs, and my most successful investment: ultra-thick fleece-lined mittens.

Such clothing--jackets from Carhartt, Lands' End and North Face, tights and sweats from Under Armour, dense woolen socks from Bass Pro, flannel-lined jeans from L.L. Bean, snow boots from REI--takes up a lot of closet space. But since I have no need for wispy summer dresses and loosely woven cropped-sleeved shirts, there's always room for something warm.

Karen Martin is senior editor of Perspective.


Editorial on 12/22/2019

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