8 Common Conditions That Flare During Winter And How To Take Care Of Them

If you have a chronic illness, you might notice that your symptoms worsen during certain months. Winter can be particularly harsh, with frigid outdoor conditions and barometric pressure shifts.

It’s smart to take action, treating yourself the way a nurturing caregiver would treat their patients. Here are eight common conditions that flare during winter and how to take care of them.

1. Rosacea

Rosacea is a condition causing small, red pus-filled bumps to appear on your face, often across your cheeks and nose. This condition can also affect your eyes, making them red and causing burning. Friction can aggravate the disease, making it a toss-up to brave the wind or tolerate a scarf.

Regular cleansers and lotions may aggravate your skin. Instead, use those designed for your skin type. Use fragrance-free detergent and avoid essential oils, which can irritate you. Discover your rosacea triggers. Many find that hot and spicy foods and alcohol exacerbate their condition.

2. Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a skin and joint condition that can bring considerable distress. It causes pain and deterioration in your joints, with or without the signature psoriasis or skin rash. If you develop scales, they could worsen this time of year.

Various medications can slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis. You should see a rheumatologist who specializes in diseases of the connective tissues. Topical creams can soften scales but not reverse the condition.

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis also causes progressive joint degeneration. It results from an autoimmune disorder like its psoriatic cousin.

Many autoimmune disorders improve with dietary changes. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables to increase your antioxidant and fiber intake may reduce flare ups. Likewise, consuming foods rich in probiotics like yogurt nurtures your intestinal microbiome, a series of beneficial bacteria that sends signals to your immune system, telling it how to behave.

4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). It causes debilitating fatigue — to the point it begins interfering with your ability to attend school or take care of your family life.

Sadly, most medical schools in the United States don’t train physicians in treating this disease, leaving many patients to suffer in silence. However, researchers are now investigating the similarities between long COVID and ME/CFS, so perhaps attitudes will change in coming years.

5. Lupus

Lupus is another autoimmune disease that may worsen in the winter months. Patients often experience a signature rash that extends across the bridge of their nose to their cheeks.

However, you may also find your symptoms easing a bit. Researchers studying the disease found an association between high humidity and temperature and increased flareups.

6. Multiple Sclerosis

Nearly any autoimmune disorder may worsen with the season, and multiple sclerosis (MS) is no exception. You might find it harder to move your limbs and experience increased muscle spasms.

This condition can cause the blood vessels in your hands and feet to overreact. You may experience Raynaud’s phenomenon, where your fingers and toes lose heat, turning blue. Keeping your hands and feet in gloves and cozy socks can help.

7. Asthma

Asthma causes your airways to narrow and swell, making breathing difficult. Cold air is a frequent trigger for sufferers. You might embrace pandemic mask requirements as they can also prevent attacks, warming outside breezes before they enter your airways.

Likewise, poor indoor air quality can exacerbate asthma. Change your filters more frequently at home — as much as once per month if you live with smokers or animals.


People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may suffer more in winter. The shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing increase, exacerbated by the cold air.

You run a higher risk of severe infection if you come down with the cold or flu when you have this disease. You also run increased risks from COVID, so please talk to your doctor about vaccination and continue wearing a mask in public.

Caring For Common Conditions That Flare During Winter

Many people with chronic conditions report that their symptoms worsen in winter. If you’re among them, you might feel the same. Take the above steps to care for your disorders and treat yourself with more TLC overall, knowing that the sun will soon shine again.

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