Staying warm with muscular dystrophy


I am in a constant battle with family and friends over indoor temperatures. During winter I am freezing. During summer I am freezing. Basically I am always freezing and sometimes bloody after a hardcore fight over the thermostat.

Physically I notice that my body works better when it is warm, so I have come up with some personalized solutions to keep myself defrosted and thought I would pass them along. These are all fairly easy to implement and don’t impact others in the house as much as cranking the heat does. They’re also very low cost.

1. Space Heaters
The main thermostat in the house I share with my sister back in WI during the summer is upstairs. Combine that with the fact it’s a tri-level and I am in the lowest level and I am constantly shivering. Tri-level houses have notoriously poor HVAC systems. Hot upstairs, cold downstairs, and sometimes comfortable in the middle. Usually, however, I am the only one downstairs and I did discover that a good space heater can help me get control of the temperature downstairs. I recommend getting one in each room you spend the most time, however I have a small one on wheels in my office that I can roll around if necessary. It’s just a pain to unplug and plug back in all the time. But it’s light, quiet, and turns my office into a sauna. You can also put a small one right at your feet and nobody else in the room even has to feel it.

2. Electric blankets
I like to plug in an electric blanket and throw it over my legs if I know I am just going to be watching TV or something for a while. It’s easy to have an electric blanket or an electric throw on the couch or recliner that’s already plugged in and ready to go — just flip a switch and it’s warm in no time.

3. Electric mattress pad
I had one of these on a bed during high school and it was wonderful. I did discover that it could get too hot sometimes. I do recommend trying a warming mattress pad, however, because you might want full-body coverage. But for me, I discovered it was my feet that were usually cold at night. To counteract this, I fold a regular electric blanket in half and use it under my sheet on the bottom half of my bed. It keeps my feet warm and doesn’t overwhelm me during the night like a full heated mattress pad does.

4. Heat lamp in the bathroom
I do not have one of these but whenever I stay in a hotel that has one, I feel like a toasty chicken McNugget just waiting to be served. It makes the transition from a nice hot shower to a colder room-temperature bathroom much easier to bear. I do, on occasion, roll my portable space heater into the bathroom to heat things up while I shower and do plan on getting one specifically for the bathroom sometime in the future.

5. Hot water bottles / Heating pads
When I am traveling and don’t have an electric blanket or space heater at my disposal, I like to fill up a water bottle with hot water from the faucet and keep it on my lap. I have also packed a portable heating pad before, which works great for travel as well.

6. Heated clothing!
I just got a heated vest and love it. It was not cheap, but I know I will get use out of it. There are also heated pads, gloves, and other items that run off batteries. Check out my heated vest review here.

I would love to get a heated seat for my wheelchair and there is a power converter that you can get to plug things in. I am not sure how long this would last or if it would drain my battery completely but it’s something I’d like to try eventually.

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One Response to Staying warm with muscular dystrophy

  1. Noel says:

    Hand warmers and wool socks work well for me.

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