If you’re among the estimated 20 to 30 percent of people with inflammatory arthritis who also have Raynaud’s syndrome, or Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition that affects blood flow to the extremities and causes pain, numbness and tingling, the fall and spring – months when temperatures are constantly shifting – can be especially challenging.

A sudden chill may cause blood vessels to spasm, shutting off circulation and turning affected parts a ghostly shade of white or blue. Fingers, toes, hands, feet, lips and the tongue are most commonly afflicted, and they may become painfully cold, tingling or numb.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent these attacks. Here are some strategies that will help keep you warm through changing seasons.

Keep your core warm. When temperatures drop, the body shifts blood away from the hands and feet toward the heart, lungs and brain. In Raynaud’s syndrome, this response is thought to be exaggerated – making the frozen foods section of the grocery store feel like as much of a threat as a North Dakota blizzard. Wearing hats and vests, and layering long underwear under clothing will keep your vital organs warm and can help defuse this trigger.

Be careful with cold food and drink. “Just like some people get brain freeze with a cold drink or cold food, you can get Raynaud's when eating something cold or even when holding a cold drink,” says Janet Pope, MD, head of the division of rheumatology at the University of Western Ontario, in Canada. “Put the drink in a thermos so it is not as cold on the outside or let it warm up a bit to decrease the chances of an attack.” Dr. Pope also advises using gloves or an oven mitt to get food out of the freezer.