Waking Up Amy

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Chronic Illness 4-1-1 For Summer

Suffering from a chronic illness is never what I’d call a “good time”, but it seems even less so during the summer months. While spending time outside can be fun, it can also cause problems and aggravate symptoms in some conditions. Being informed and prepared is the key to an enjoyable summer. Following these tips […]

Suffering from a chronic illness is never what I’d call a “good time”, but it seems even less so during the summer months. While spending time outside can be fun, it can also cause problems and aggravate symptoms in some conditions. Being informed and prepared is the key to an enjoyable summer. Following these tips could help avoid heat-related symptom flare-ups or illness.

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Tips for Managing Chronic Conditions During Hot Weather

Monitor Your Medications

Some medications can worsen the effects of heat. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any current medications can contribute to those heat-related symptoms.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential in hot weather. Water or sugar-free drinks are preferred over caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

Apply Sunscreen

Lathering on SPF 15 or higher sunscreen is imperative for keeping skin healthy. Prescription sunscreen is available for those with severe skin conditions. A physician consult is necessary for the script.

Avoid Vigorous Activities

Outdoor activities, even fun ones, can lead to exhaustion. If you do plan on being outside, avoid the mid-day if possible. Remember to apply sunscreen, grab a floppy hat, and keep the exertion light and to a minimum.

Stay Inside

Turn the air on, and relax. If the home does not have air conditioning or portable fans, spend the hottest part of the day at the library, mall, or with friends and family.

Know When to Take a Break

People with chronic conditions know when they’ve hit a wall. Taking a break, be it short or permanent, is a must, especially in the hot weather.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion happens when the body becomes dehydrated by losing too much water and salt. Knowing how to spot symptoms is important and can be a lifesaver. The symptoms of heat-related illness or exhaustion include:

  • Clammy Skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting

If you believe you have heat exhaustion, slowly drink water, loosen clothing, and go inside your home or any cool space. Put cool towels on your skin or jump into a cold shower or bath. If your symptoms get worse or do not go away after an hour, seek medical attention.

Those of us with chronic illnesses can still enjoy our time outside during the summer by being prepared, informed, and listening to our bodies. Have a cool summer!

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