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Heat Intolerance: Tips for Surviving Summer

While I was in the midst of my illness and had no answers, a dear friend of mine point out that my symptoms would get worse in the summer. I thought back and on the last couple of years and realized that I noticed that I missed almost the entire summer season each year. I thought, "Jinkies", yeah I like Scooby Doo, there must be a connection between the heat and what was going on. I was experiencing heat intolerance and it, in turn, triggered other symptoms. That observation is one of many that led me to the Dysautonomia diagnosis.

1. In the heat I learned to wear breathable clothing. This means cotton or gauze type material that protects my skin from the suns rays (solar urticaria) and allows my skin to sweat and cool off, thus helping me stay cool.

2. Stay hydrated. Sounds like a no-brainer but I realize that when it is warm I don't drink that much water. I also don't like cold water but I know that I need to change that in warmer temps. A person I follow, Dizzy Daze of Lynnea, on Youtube has a great video that shows a camelback. This is a cool bag that looks like a backpack but it holds water. I believe it is for hikers and other active folk but I am glad it is made available for me.

I wanted to add that electrolytes are important because I have a problem retaining sodium when I drink water. I've seen an Endocrinologist and they say that my adrenal glands are fine. However, that doesn't stop me from being presyncopal , having a low heart rate and low blood pressure. Gatorade is my drink of choice. I tried a homemade version but that didn't end well. Tip: Do not add too much salt. It turns in to a laxative if your measurements are off

3. Take cool showers. I love a hot shower but I found that I can create a humid Floridian climate in my bathroom with the hot water and steam. That will drain me quickly. If I couple that with the hot conditions outside, I might as well just stay in the A/C.

4. Choose when I want to go out. I am one of those people that need to avoid peak times during orange or red alert days. I have to go out early or late but never in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest.

Bonus: This year I am adding items to my bag that will identify when I am in crisis and help others help me if I am unable to communicate: a medic alert bracelet and my trusty blood pressure cuff. I can start feeling "weird" but not know why unless I see the numbers.

This is by no means an exhaustive list on how I handle heat intolerance but it includes a few things that I've learned after listening to myself and seeing how I react when it gets hot. In my part of the world the heat is definitely on and here is how I plan to cope.

One day at a time.


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