Why Winter Makes Me Nervous as a Person With Chronic Illnesses

As it starts getting colder outside, I start to get nervous because I know what winter does to me. 

I have an immune deficiency, so I spend the majority of every winter bedridden with whatever is going around: influenza, pneumonia or just a random virus. 

I miss weeks of school every year in January and February. When I feel extra tired and start coughing, I get anxious because I know what’s coming. This year, I’ve already missed seven out of nine days of the new semester. I take prophylactic antibiotics, but even this treatment can’t halt the germs. 

I have Raynaud’s phenomenon, so when I come inside after about five minutes outside, I can’t use my fingers. They’re white or purple and the blood isn’t flowing properly. Not only is it a hassle to get the blood flowing, but it also hurts. 

Others may see me as someone with big mittens and a bottle of hand sanitizer who’s trying to avoid anyone with a mild cough. But in reality, I’m trying to protect myself from going to the hospital, the fevers, the breathing treatments, the medicines and the pain. 

Winter isolates me from my peers. Winter sends me to the hospital. Winter just scares me. 

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