Summer is upon us and the heat has taken over. Where I live, the summer heat combined with high humidity can create havoc for me because it triggers my Chronic Migraine. But other Chronic Illnesses can be impacted due to high temperatures and high humidity as well. Here are products and tips to survive the summer heat with Chronic Illness.
3 Tips to Survive the Summer Heat
People with Chronic Illnesses are more susceptible to hot, humid weather in many ways. Not only can getting overheated bring increased risks of heat sickness, it can also trigger flares of pain. Add on top of the risk that everyone faces, people with Chronic Illness also take medications that can also make the heat and sun even more dangerous. Here are 3 tips to survive the summer heat with Chronic Illness.
1. Stay Hydrated
This one may seem simple but some medications, such as diuretics and certain blood pressure medications, can cause dehydration on their own. When you factor in extremely hot summer temperatures, dehydration becomes even more dangerous.
Drinking around 8 oz every 30 minutes while in the heat should help combat dehydration. Also avoiding drinks that can dehydrate you such as alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks is important as well.
Products to Help with Hydration:
2. Avoid Direct Sun
Many medications such as certain antibiotics, seizure drugs and antidepressants can cause an increased sensitivity to the sun’s UV rays. So, not only does being in direct sunlight increase your body temperature, it also leaves you at risk for severe sunburn. Avoiding direct sun exposure is an important step in how to survive the summer heat with Chronic Illness.
Products to Help Avoid Sun Exposure:
3. Stay Cool
This may seem like a dumb statement because it seem so simple. If you are trying to survive the summer heat with Chronic Illness, staying as cool as possible is your main goal. Overheating can be deadly for everyone but the risk is even higher if you have a Chronic Illness.
Keeping some supplies to help you stay cool is very important if you have a Chronic Illness. To many, their bodies seem to over react to being overheated and become sick quickly.
Side Note: My favorite and most used item are the cooling towels. I wet one and put it in a sealable plastic bag before I leave the house. If I start feeling overheated, I just stretch it and it becomes almost as cool as an icepack. I use these year round! (note: remove the towel from the bag and hang to dry when you get home, otherwise it will smell badly!)
Products to Avoid Overheating:
While the summer heat is just starting, it is important to be prepared for the long hot summer to come. Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke are real threats to anyone but the risk is even greater for those with Chronic Illness. It is really important to know the signs of heat sickness.
3 Types of Heat Sickness
1. Heat Rash & Heat Cramps
Heat rash is a rash on the skin that is usually caused by excessive sweating. Make sure to drink plenty of water if you notice any rash while you are in the heat. Also try to cool off as much as possible.
Heat cramps are muscle spasms that happens during periods of overexertion. These two form of heat sickness are minor and easily treated. If not treated, the sickness can proceed to the other more serious forms of heat sickness.
2. Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing, and a fast, weak pulse. It is very important to note that if this is not treated immediately, it will lead to the next step of Heat Stroke. If you notice these symptoms you must treat immediately by cooling off and hydrating. Removing yourself from the heat at this stage is an urgent matter.
3. Heat Stroke
Heat Stroke is a life-threatening illness and requires emergency medical attention. Heatstroke symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse, and dizziness. Go to a cooler location if you are able and call emergency services.
If you know the symptoms of heat sickness and follow these tips, you should survive the summer heat with Chronic Illness. Summer is a time to enjoy time with families, to travel and explore. Don’t let the heat stop you from enjoying your summer!
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