Chronic Illness · Fibromyalgia · Heat · Summer · Tips · UCTD

The Downsides to Summer Heat When You Have a Chronic Illness

I feel a slight fraud writing about summer heat when the rain has been pouring down for the last few days. Even so we are now approaching the summer months and whilst many people up and down the country welcome the hot weather, for many with chronic illnesses the heat can be a nightmare.

For some people the summer heat can bring on flare-ups and introduce many unwanted symptoms. You may find the heat actually improves some conditions, but of course this will vary from person to person. However, for those of us who find heat a problem this can manifest in a number of ways including:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivities to sunlight
  • Overheating of body
  • Finding it harder to breathe
  • Increase in Hay fever/Allergens
  • Nausea
  • Irritation of skin
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Headaches

So, how can we prepare ourselves for the summer heat?

As we know by now chronic illness symptoms are often out of our control, even in the best of times, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to minimise these effects and try to help ourselves along the way. Remember you don’t need to be sunning yourself on a beach to have heat affect you – even sitting indoors at home when the hot weather hits can be a challenge!

My top tips for staying a cool cat in the hot heat are:

  • Stay hydrated – This is probably a no-brainer, but for someone like me with gastro issues it can be really difficult to keep drinking. Nevertheless, staying hydrated in hot weather is so important when you are sweating more to stop you becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can increase dizziness, headaches and other nasty symptoms, so remember to carry a bottle with you even around the house so you can keep having a sip.
  • Pick your outfits accordingly – When the weather is hot we want to be paying attention to our fabric choices to minimise excess heat. Fabrics such as cotton or linen are ideal in warmer weather as they are lightweight and breathable. For people who are sun sensitive remember to wear long sleeved garments and coverings to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Go indoors – Being a chronically ill person you are probably used to staying indoors and when it comes to the summer heat this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a general rule you should aim to stay inside during the hottest points of the day when the sun/heat can do the most damage.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on
  • Stay protected – If you have no choice to be out in the sun – always remember to wear sunscreen with a high factor, protect your eyes with UV protection sunglasses and protect your self from brightness by wearing a wide rimmed hat or putting up an umbrella.
  • Eat well – As well as drinking lots, eating is important too to help with our blood sugars. Heat can make our appetites decrease, so make sure in the times you do eat your eating nutritional food that is easy to digest and has high fluid content (to help with hydration).
  • Invest in cooling products – Take advantage of any deals you find on products that will help with keeping you cool. For example portable and/or room fans, cooling pillows, cooling packs, neck fans, sunshades for windows, water bottles, facial sprays, cooling towels, neck wraps etc. For those on a budget there are many DIY things you can make yourself to keep the heat at bay. Even wetting a towel may be helpful!
  • Listen to your body and know when enough is enough – The summer months always put a smile on people’s faces, and because of this happiness it can be hard to listen to a body that is screaming for you to stop. But, unfortunately summer doesn’t mean you can ignore what your body needs. Don’t take your lead from others, listen to your own requirements to keep as well as can be, and weigh up the pros and cons to any situation you are in. Rest is so important in the summer, so don’t forget to factor this into your day as much as everything else.

Here we are everyone, my top tips to staying cool in the summer heat. Like I said before, specific conditions are extremely problematic in hot weather and there is not a great deal that will change about that, but hopefully having some preparation will make it more manageable.

What do you find helps you in the summer months?

Sarah xx

11 thoughts on “The Downsides to Summer Heat When You Have a Chronic Illness

  1. I find heat so difficult to deal with! Things that work for me are keeping salts up (I have EDS and POTS amongst other things), cooling sprays, fan, ice lollies and frozen water. I basically put water bottles in the freezer to drink throughout the day as they defrost.


  2. Interesting article on how heat affects many of us with chronic illness. My husband has gone into town and it is the hottest part of the day so i have opted to stay indoors at home in the cool with the fan on. These are just some of the many ways I cope. Thanks so much for linking this article up at Fibro Friday and your ongoing support there to raise awareness of fibromyalgia and chronic illness in general.


    1. Thank you for your comment Lee!

      The heat can be a real nightmare – I am glad to hear you opted to stay indoors to try and keep cool. Thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for all you do with Fibro Friday and Fibro Bloggers it is such an amazing community.

      Thank you so much again,
      Sarah xx

      Liked by 1 person

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