Using my frozen claw to type this post
March 2, 2012 8:16 AM   Subscribe

People with cold hands: how do you keep warm indoors? Fingerless gloves? Any recommendations?

I have good solutions for keeping my freezing cold hands warm while outside, but indoors my hands are always freezing in the fall/winter/spring months. I often warm up a flaxseed-filled bag and hold it in my hands for 20 minutes or so, but, although effective, it isn't that practical. What am I missing? Is there some better solution other people (perhaps Reynauds-sufferers?) use?
posted by dreamphone to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Wrist gaiters are great, cute and you can DIY them if you like. I have a pair from Houdini that I love.
posted by Iteki at 8:19 AM on March 2, 2012

I hold my hands under running hot water while squeezing more blood into them. It helps for a while.
posted by Trurl at 8:22 AM on March 2, 2012

I do a few things:
  • USB fingerless gloves or regular fingerless gloves heated in the microwave for 30 seconds
  • Run warm water over hands
  • Sometimes when I get really cold it's because I haven't eaten protein
  • Warm tea (or just a mug of hot water if you don't want to drink anything. Put it in the microwave using proper safety precautions)
  • Underboob heat

posted by Kimberly at 8:23 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

When I worked retail in winter and the boss insisted on keeping the door open regardless of whether or not the heat was working, fingerless gloves were status quo.
posted by griphus at 8:31 AM on March 2, 2012

Fingerless gloves = being able to type with cold hands. They are wonderful. I tend to have to make sure that my hands are warm before I put them on, so I do the hot water trick Kimberly and Trurl mention. These USB fingerless gloves Kimberly linked to look intriguing!

I use a hot water bottle or a wheat pack and stick that on my feet (my feet are always cold) or behind my back while I'm sitting at my desk. Behind my back seems to help my hands feel warm. I also found if i make sure my neck is wrapped up in a small scarf/ neck warmer thing I don't feel as cold.
posted by pymsical at 8:49 AM on March 2, 2012

I love my cashmere fingerless gloves. Sometimes I top them up with a hot cup of tea. It's pretty important to have your hands warm before you put on your gloves, and if you can warm your gloves too, brilliant. You can get those weird chemical hand warming pads - I have one shaped like a penguin - but I find woollen gloves are far better. Make sure they cover your wrists too and are not made of a scratchy wool. Wrists, or at least my wrists, don't like scratchy.
posted by tavegyl at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: @Kimberly: thanks for the reply - is the USB glove practical for moving around, or is it better for a stationary-type activity (like working at a computer)? I guess what I'm wondering is whether it's okay to plug the gloves in to warm them, then unplug them and wear them for a while, or whether you need to keep them plugged in while wearing. (Also, I'm intrigued - what is underboob heat?)
posted by dreamphone at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2012

Those gloves are mostly for working at the computer, if you want to move around I'd go with the microwaved regular gloves. Underboob heat is, well, you stick your hands under your boobs to warm them up. It's nice and cozy in there*.

*I've heard/someone told me once.
posted by Kimberly at 8:58 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't have cold hands in genera, but I'm a computer addict, and if I get to typing or gaming on a cold morning or a cold office, my hands lose a lot of heat, and I tend to ignore it for too long. Fingerless wool gloves were a godsend, and now I use them in general practice. A few people comment on my "Bob Cratchett" gloves, but it's all in good sport, and they probably haven't seen them in the wild before.

I buy these gloves from REI and I have two pair. They're also ambidextrous, in effect if not intention. They're not scratchy in the least, IMO. I've never microwaved them, though.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:37 AM on March 2, 2012

Hello, fellow cold hands. I do a combination of things to keep my hands warm:

Fingerless gloves.
Hand warmers that you get at a tractor supply are quite nice.
Running hands under hot water until you get the wonderful, tingly, "I can feel my hands again!" feeling. It works for a little while, but if you put your hands back in the fingerless gloves with hand warmers, it will keep your hands nicely warm.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 9:58 AM on March 2, 2012

I'm borderline Reynaud's, but it's situational white fingers; in a cool space (like my office) I just have cold hands. When I'm going outside, I love wearing mega-warm mittens, but I haven't got much patience with fingerless gloves indoors. What helped me was dressing warmer, from the core. I realized I never had cold hands when I felt too warm. Yes, I often was in the situation of "I'm warm enough but my hands are cold" but if I analyzed it, it wasn't just my hands, I'd be a little chilly all over, or my chair feels cool, my feet are a little cold, my sweater is gapping at the waistline in back, etc. and I might think of myself as warm enough, or at least not cold, but I was never actually approaching "too warm". Silk undershirts, wool socks, got rid of all my cotton sweaters in favor of cashmere, gave up on the idea of scoopnecked anything, decided I was not too hip to wear a turtleneck. Basically just let my style of dress admit that it's cold outside. If I get too warm during the day, I peel off a layer; then the building heat cycles, my hands get cold, and I put my sweater back on and make a mug of tea. Tea spikes my core temperature up, sweater holds it in, and the hands follow through - it's not that they're cold because they're disconnected from the rest of me, it's that they're the canary in the coal mine indicator of whether I'm really warm enough.

From a body-as-system perspective, I like the extra-clothing approach because it's encouraging my circulatory system to keep in touch with my extremities. Sometimes I worry that dunking cold hands in warm water or using a warm-pack is just reinforcing bad habits, that the blood flow can just skip my hands entirely and my body learns it'll all be fine, they've got an external heater - and the problem will just get worse. Disclaimer: this might be kooky remnants of a drunken conversation with a friendly naturopath at a party a few years back. I've looked up hydrotherapy but can't find reference to this exactly.
posted by aimedwander at 10:38 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like hot beverages I can wrap my hands around and keeping my core warm, I hate wearing gloves inside. I also sit on my hands a lot, which probably isn't the most dignified.

It's also helped some when I exercised more and kicked up my metabolism a bit.
posted by momus_window at 10:53 AM on March 2, 2012

I wear elbow-length fingerless gloves all the time in the office. not only do they keep my hands warm but they make me feel like a lovable Dickensian urchin.
posted by supercoollady at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Sounds weird, but I also find a heavy hand moisturizer will help my hands from feeling cold and chapped. I think b/c less air is getting to them (but I'm no Dr.).
posted by gpoint at 11:03 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use the cheap cotton fingerless gloves from McMaster-Carr and they help a lot.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:40 AM on March 2, 2012

To help keep my mouse-using fingers warm when in place, I bought a small goose-neck desk lamp that runs a tiny bulb and position it over the mouse pad. Works pretty well, plus I can use the metal shade like a hot mug.
posted by dpcoffin at 11:59 AM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for all of the thoughtful replies. Sounds like fingerless gloves is not as totally insane an idea, as I feared. At least I will not be alone (or un-Dickensian).

Also acknowledging that, in many cases, the solution can be found in dressing more warmly in general and with a scarf. Excellent points, all.

(Kimberly, thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately, though I am female, I don't think my cup size accommodates that perk. Sigh.)
posted by dreamphone at 12:49 PM on March 2, 2012

I'm a cold hander too, and I hate to wear a fingerless glove/handwarmer thing when I'm using the computer (typing is fine, but mousing is hard), but I find if I keep my feet VERY warm, the rest of me, and my hands, keep warmer too. We have very cold floors, so I generally have some kind of slipper on most days, and in winter that beefs up to wool socks and sheepskin slippers.
posted by thylacinthine at 1:22 PM on March 2, 2012

Strange as it may sound, warm socks and thermal (underwear, silk works quite nicely over a wide range of ambient temperatures) pants keep my hands and fingers from turning into popsicles. I also get up and procure hot tea or coffee when I start to feel chilled and am not in a meeting.
posted by thatdawnperson at 4:03 PM on March 2, 2012

For working on a computer, a heated mouse is brilliant (or mousepad, or wristwrest, if you prefer).

Wrist warmers with a little pocket in them to accommodate a chemical hand warmer packet work GREAT. If you don't want to spend money on wrist warmers, you can make them yourself out of the tops of old socks. Then you'll look classy and fashionable, like me.
posted by Corvid at 5:58 PM on March 2, 2012

My hands often get cold when I get a migraine. I got an inexpensive pair of wrist sweat bands (3.75 inches wide) which help considerably.
posted by bryon at 10:03 AM on March 3, 2012

I think fingerless gloves feel too bulky for comfortable typing or writing, but I have been very happy with these arm warmers.
posted by kayram at 10:12 AM on March 3, 2012

What also helps me is taking desk breaks & moving about during the day, including taking the stairs instead of the elevator. And hot tea and or hot water to drink.
posted by SarahbytheSea at 9:49 PM on March 3, 2012

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