How to survive the summer heat with a chronic illness


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In general, heat never makes me feel well and these past few weeks have been particularly challenging with it being such an extreme heat wave. The house I live in is from the 1920’s and has no air conditioning, so there’s no quick and easy relief. The biggest issue I try and look out for during times like this is to make sure I’m drinking enough fluids,  because when the temperature gets to around 100 degrees like it has been in San Diego recently, you’re sweating constantly and losing more water than you realize. Usually I wake up and drink some cold brew with my breakfast but since caffeine dehydrates you further, I’ve been drinking extra electrolytes before my morning coffee to avoid any POTS related crash. I’ve also been keeping a big container of iced mint tea in the fridge to sip on throughout the day (that, plus going to the movies whenever I can because it’s always overly air conditioned in there!). Using any heated tool to style my hair has gone completely out the window, along with cooking anything on the stove or in the oven. Air dried hair and take out it is! Remember to be extra gentle with yourself during heat waves because high temperature exhausts everyone and often aggravates chronic symptoms.


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I’ve always had a very hard time regulating my temperature and dealing with extreme weather changes, but for me, the absolute worst time of the year is summer. I have never done well with the sun & this summer feels even hotter & more humid than usual. My POTS symptoms seem to go fully out of whack when I’m in any temperature that’s higher than 85 degrees despite all of my efforts to keep them at bay.  While I avoid the “normal” summer activities like spending all day outside & getting my tan on, I realize that summer cannot be avoided all together. For me, staying hydrated is key. Like I’ve preached many times before, I always drink a lot of water & electorate drinks, but during the summer I like to kick that up a few notches. I find that when I carry a water bottle around I automatically drink more and anytime I go out I always take it with me. Another great tool that I’ve been loving to use during this heat spell has been a small cooling towel. I got one on amazon as a gift & it’s such an easy way to cool yourself down. All you need to do is pour water on it, snap it in the air & poof, you instantly get a refreshing towel (I find it really helpful to put it around my neck or shoulders).  And of course, when I can, I try to stay inside during the peak sun hours - so things like going to the movies, or doing an inside activity with air conditioning has become a much better and gentler alternative for me. Em & I both use MoviePass so we can go see plenty of films for only $10 a month. A lot of people absolutey love the sun & do great with it, but for me & my chronic illnesses that’s definitely not the case. I find myself having to decline or pass on doing more things during this time of year but that’s okay. I know my limitations now & I know that these higher temperatures effect me more negatively than most of my friends.