I thought I’d share a post sharing some tips on staying cool in the summer heat when you have chronic illness. Why? Well because chronic illness and chronic pain make coping with everything much more difficult.
Here in the UK we don’t get a gradual warming of the weather leading up to our summer heat. One day we may be in a jumper and jeans and the next we are in shorts and flip flops! In short, our bodies do not get the gradual acclimatisation that other warmer countries may get as they go through the seasons. It’s not uncommon in the UK to get all 4 seasons in one day.
I think it’s hard enough for people with ‘normal’ working bodies to cope with our heatwaves. But throw in the complications of having a chronic illness that causes having no body temperature control.
It can be off the scale!
I, for one enjoy the heat as it has a positive impact on my pain levels generally. The summer months are my most active months. I can cope a little better in those months simply because I am not fighting and using limited energy to keep my body warm. I literally have 2 temperatures, ice cold on cooler days and on fire on warmer days. Once my feet or hands get hot or cold my body takes over and creates that temperature ALL OVER.
However, having absolutely no temperature control causes it’s own set of issues when the heatwaves strike in the UK. We don’t have air conditioning fitted as standard in our homes. I mean, it’s hardly worth it when you can count the number of properly hot days we get each year using our fingers and toes.
So, over the years I have built up a go to list of tips that can help cool me down in the moment. Or at least they help to keep my temperature at a more manageable level.
So here’s my top tips on staying cool in the summer with chronic illness
- FANS Ok a bit of an obvious one to start. Over the years I’ve invested in several fans to have around the house. One downstairs in our front room, which is the coolest room in the house. One for our bedroom which is in a dorma loft extension, where literally ALL the house heat rises to. However, don’t forget the portable kind of fans. Hand held battery ones for an instant breeze are great as an extra, or when travelling in a car or on the bus etc. I also have several hand fans that I keep in different handbags when I am out and about. I permanently have one next to where I sit at home ready to use at any time, because menopausal hot flushes DO NOT help the situation!
- DAMP FLANNEL a bit old school but is brilliant for an instant cool down. The pressure of the heat can cause migraines which I get quite often. This instant cool down with a damp flannel can help to reduce the pressure I feel in my head during a heatwave. The coolness of the cloth on the back of the neck or even on my forehead creates instant relief for a few minutes at least.
- Hot Water Bottle Ok don’t freak out I’m not talking about putting hot water in there! Use cold water and pop an ice cube or two in there to keep it cool for longer. Then just use it as you would with a hot water bottle. I wrap a cloth around it and rest my feet on one which definitely helps to reduce my body temperature overall. Or I just hold my hands on it for a minute or two to cool my hands. Which in turns cools me down.
- COOL WATER MIST SPRAY these are a fab way of just cooling your face for a few minutes at a time without being overwhelming. So just use a plant spray bottle or similar and keep it filled next to where you sit. That lovely cool mist spray on your face feels like heaven on a scorching day. I remember many moons ago on holiday in Disney everyone having these cool spray bottles hanging around their necks. They work.
- COOL WATER IN A BASIN I would use this mainly if I’m in the garden sitting in the shade. I can dip my feet or hands in there periodically for an instant cool down. I find that when I feel like I’m overheating by simply running my hands under cold water will be an instant relief to the heat around me. If my hands or feet get too hot then my temperature will rocket and will be much harder to regulate.
- HYDRATE I know this seems like a no brainer but honestly when you have chronic illness or chronic pain, drinking too much means trips to the loo. Trips to the loo means using already limited energy, especially on bad days. So it can be a very easy bad habit that accumulates over time that you don’t even realise. You can now buy great drinking bottles with times on the side to help you to remember to drink little and often throughout the day to help combat dehydration.
Now these are just a few ideas and I’m sure if you’re a chronic illness sufferer you will also have your own methods too. Why not share them in the comments so we can all help each other. As we all know with these illnesses, what works for one may not work for another. So, the more ideas we share the more people we can help.
I’ve also shared my tips for staying warm in winter too so I’d love to hear your ideas for that too.
So, let me know how you stay cool in summer with your chronic illness.