With my chest condition, direct application of heat can immediately make breathing comfortable again. And when I’m gasping and wheezing with my chest feeling like it’s caught in a vice, there are a number of avenues I try to keep open. I clearly remember coming home from a night out several years ago and leaping straight into a hot shower, feeling my chest release and being able to breath again. Hot drinks also help, as do hand warmers. I’ve had many hand warmers over the last few years and they can be very helpful for my condition. Click the metal disk inside and the liquid crystallizes, releasing heat. Hand warmers of this variety get very hot very fast and many can stay that way for hours but there are a few problems in the details:
- To return your hand warmer back to normal, you need a jug of boiling water to leave it in for a while.
- I find that the average hand warmer can only be used about 6 times in this way before it stops working altogether.
- The heat is intense but then, if you don’t need the hand warmer for very long, you’re left with a heat pocket to put… somewhere.
Hot Rox is a hand warmer that runs on electricity, charging via a USB or through the mains (depending on which set you buy). It fits very nicely in the palm of the hand and comes with a sleek and smooth exterior. I charged mine up over the next few hours and waited for my condition to present itself. Sure enough, I was hanging out in my flat when I felt the familiar twinges, I switched on the hand warmer and waited. The first time my hand warmer was turned on, it took about 20 seconds to heat up was soon hot enough to ease my chest pains. The temperature reaches my limit for direct skin contact across the chest but doesn’t exceed it, meaning that I’m happy to keep it pressed close or even slip it inside the central strap of my bra. I’m sure this helpful design was not intended at all but it’s been a godsend for me, meaning that I can sit at work with the handwarmer pressed tight against my chest, instantly making it more comfortable to breath. After the first use, the HotRox heated up much faster, peaking at a noticeable difference within 5 seconds of switching on. That’s only slightly slower than the liquid alternatives and I can use the device for as long as I need. Rather than desperately clinging to whatever residual heat is left after a few hours, these hand warmers can just keep going. It’s incredibly helpful to have a handwarmer that I can switch on and off again at will, so when I have a quick attack that goes away within ten minutes I’m not left holding a handwarmer that is now needlessly hot and will need to be boiled before it’s of use again. This has caused problems in the past if my condition recurs twice in the same day but I’ve already used my only hand warmer. The electric variety gives me far more security.
It took about four days of solid use (often for hours at a time) for the battery to deplete. Then a few hours USB charging meant it was back to normal. I think that if you get the variety that charges through the mains that it’ll probably recharge much faster, plus you can get a charger for your car. It’s all very convenient and flexible, which is something a really appreciate.
I was a little skeptical about how well HotRox would work for me but all my concerns have been blown out of the water. Having something close to hand that can heat up quickly and give me some respite has made every interaction with my condition that much easier. Because of the intense fear I often experience when being unable to breath, I’ve had many panic attacks due to my condition. Being able to quickly pull out my electric handwarmer gives me security and confidence, as well as enough time to pain my pain medication. If you experience regular pain then I’d recommend looking into an electric handwarmer and making it part of your condition kit.