Survive The Summer Heat – 10 Tips

Survive The Summer Heat – 10 Tips

Hot temperatures can be difficult for anyone, especially for those with chronic illness, where heat can worsen symptoms. Here are 10 tips that help me stay cool, ease my symptoms and survive the summer heat.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. Information in this post and blog is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a qualified practitioner if you have any questions regarding medical problems and before making any changes to your current diet or treatment plan. This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you I will earn commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. See my full disclaimer here.

 

Hot temperatures can be difficult for anyone. For those with chronic illness, like dysautonomia, POTS and chronic fatigue and pain, heat can be especially difficult as heat intolerance and an inability to regulate body temperature are common symptoms. Heat can increase inflammation, increasing pain and causes blood vessels to widen which reduces blood flow back to the heart and brain. This can increase heart rates and worsen symptoms like dizziness and increased fatigue.

 

Below are 10 things that help me survive the summer heat, keep cool and minimise the increase in symptoms.

 

Survive the summer tip 1). Hydration

During the summer we lose more fluids and electrolytes via sweating, so replenishing these fluids and electrolytes is essential. Keeping hydrated has the following benefits:-

  • Reduces fatigue,
  • Increases energy levels,
  • Improves concentration, memory and alertness,
  • Eases anxiety,
  • Activates the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest system, reducing heart rates.
  • Increases blood volume and blood flow back to the heart and brain, easing symptoms for those with dysautonomia and POTS (1, 2).

 

fluid intake recommendations

Typically, it’s recommended to drink 2-4 litres of water each day (1). Although there are numerous electrolyte tablets available that can be added to plain water to help the body retain these fluids, these can contain artificial additives, preservatives and sweeteners, which increase inflammation and are harmful to our health.  

Also, the type of salt added is important. Regular table salt is refined, meaning it is stripped of vital minerals and other important electrolytes like magnesium, potassium and calcium. Instead, it is recommended to use:-

These are unrefined and contain not only sodium but all the other electrolytes to help keep you hydrated (3).

 

how i keep hydrated

Therefore, I consume a green juice, like this Fennel, Cucumber & Mint Juice, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, which is packed full of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes to help rehydrate me after not consuming any fluids overnight.

 

During the rest of the day, I make my own electrolyte drink at home, that is free from these inflammatory and artificial ingredients, by stirring together:-

  • 450 ml / 1.75 cups filtered water
  • 60 ml / 0.25 cups coconut water (ensure it is 100% coconut water, with no added sugar, preservatives or additives like Tiana Fairtrade’s)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan or celtic sea salt (omit if you have hyperadrenic POTS like me).

 

benefit of insulated water bottles

To keep your water cool, store it in a stainless steel insulated water bottle (UK Link/US Link). Ensure it is made from stainless steel as plastic water bottles leach chemicals and toxins into the water, which is harmful to our health and can contribute to symptoms for those with chronic illness.

 

other hydration tips

For more detailed information, click to read my other blog post with 9 Top Tips To Stay Hydrated, including a full list of drinks I consume and avoid, the best times to consume fluids and the foods that help me stay hydrated. Although the article is written for those with dysautonomia and POTS, the tips are applicable for everyone.

 

Survive the summer tip 2). Cold Exposure

Cold exposure helps lower our body temperature. It also activates the vagus nerve, which increases parasympathetic nervous system activation to reduce heart rates, increase energy and reduce fatigue and pain (4).   Cold exposure can be achieved in the following ways:-

  • Cold showers
  • Drinking cold water
  • Suck on an ice cube
  • Eat ice lollies/popsicles, like these Healthy Tropical Fruit Popsicles.
  • Place cooling towel around your neck – many brands are made from polyester and nylon. SKL is my favourite brand (UK Link/US Link) as it is 80% bamboo, which is free from chemicals, more breathable and moisture wicking, helping to remove sweat from our bodies. This makes it more effective than other fabrics and materials to keep us cool.
  • Koldtec Cold Therapy Headband. Not only does this help cool you, and can be worn to bed to aid sleep, but it’s especially beneficial for headache & migraine relief – the band applies cold to pain point zones where headaches are most common. 

  • Spray cold water on your face. Although there are cooling facial sprays you can buy, these contain chemicals which are absorbed into our body through the skin and are harmful to our health in the long term. Instead, I make my own by filling a glass spray bottle with filtered water. Use a glass bottle instead of plastic as glass doesn’t contain or leach any chemicals into the water and onto our skin (UK Link/US Link).
  • Soak feet in a bowl filled with cold water.
  • Cooling vest (UK Link/US Link). Simply soak in water, wring out and then wear to keep cool for hours.
  • Apply ice packs

Reusable Ice Packs With Straps (UK Link/US Link)

survive the summer apply ice packs to pulse points on body

  The benefits of ice packs can be maximised by applying them to specific parts of the body:-

  • Apply to pulse points on the body, where you can feel your heart beat as the blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. Applying cold to these points lowers the temperature of the blood as it passes though, which helps cool the whole body as the blood flows throughout the body.
    • Inside of wrists,
    • Neck,
    • Temples,
    • Crooks of elbows,
    • Back of knees,
    • Inner thigh,
    • Top of feet.
  • Back of neck – The brainstem, the part of the brain which senses and regulates body temperature, runs through this area. Applying cold here sends a signal to the whole body to cool down.
  • Forehead or side of the neck to maximise the activation of the vagus nerve (5).

survive the summer 10 tips

 

other vagus nerve exercises

For 11 other ways to activate the vagus nerve and enhance these benefits, click to read my other blog post – 12 Vagus Nerve Exercises To Improve Physical & Mental Health.

 

Survive the summer tip 3). Eat fresh raw foods.

Cooked foods increase our body temperature and require the use of the oven, stove and other appliances, which generate heat, increasing the temperature of the kitchen and home.   Instead, I consume:-

 

Fresh raw foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are:-

  • Light and refreshing,
  • Help to cool the body,
  • Have a high electrolyte and water content (75-95%) to help keep me hydrated,
  • Don’t require the use of ovens, stoves or appliances, preventing the temperature in the kitchen and home increasing.

 

Survive the summer tip 4). stay in the shade

The sunlight is most intense between 11am and 3pm, so avoid being out in the sun during this time, if possible. Regardless of the time, whenever out in the sun, protect yourself and stay in the shade as much as possible:-

  • Use parasols/umbrellas,
  • Wear sunglasses,
  • Wear sunscreen,
  • Wear a wide brimmed sun hats like Furtalk’s, which provide UPF 50+ rated protection, blocking 97.5% of the sun’s UV rays (UK Link/US Link).
  • Wear a neck fan. A neck fan prevents you having to constantly hold a portable fan to keep cool.

Neck Fan (UK Link/US Link)

Importance of natural chemical free sunscreen

The chemicals in regular sunscreens used to block the sun’s UV rays are unstable when exposed to these rays and actually cause greater damage to the skin and other healthy tissue cells than when skin is exposed to sunlight without any protection (8)!

Regular sunscreens also contain chemicals and toxins, which are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. These are harmful to our health, such as disrupting hormones and causing developmental and reproductive problems, and can contribute to symptoms (5, 6, 7).

Instead, opt for a natural chemical free broad spectrum alternative, which contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, like Badger’s, to provide protection against both UVB and UVA rays.  It is also unscented so great for those like me with sensitive skin (UK Link/US Link).

 

Survive the summer tip 5). For clothing and bedding use light, Loose fitting bamboo and linen materials

Benefit of Bamboo and linen

Bamboo and linen are the best materials for clothing and bedding, rather than cotton, denim, nylon, silk, satin and polyester, as they:-

  • Are the most breathable fabrics, allowing air to flow through the material to help keep you cool,
  • Remove sweat from your skin by absorbing it, helping to keep you even cooler,
  • Release the sweat and moisture quickly back into the air, rather than trapping it in the fabric like other materials, to help keep you dry as well as cool.
  • Are hypoallergic, meaning they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation.

 

Benefit of Loose fitting clothing

Loose fitting clothing allows air to flow past the skin and more sweat to be evaporated, helping to keep us cool. In contrast, tight fitting clothing traps heat against the skin and prevents sweat being removed, which can increase body temperature.

 

Benefit of Light coloured clothing

Dark clothing retains heat, which can increase our body temperature. Therefore, wear light coloured clothing, and beige compression stockings (UK Link/US Link) if needed for dysautonomia and POTS, which reflects and dissipates heat, helping to keep us cooler.

 

Survive the summer tip 6). Stay downstairs

Hot airs rises, meaning the temperature upstairs is higher than downstairs. Therefore, where possible, try to stay downstairs or in the basement. This is especially important for sleeping, where hot temperatures can disrupt sleep. Either sleep downstairs, if possible, or if your bedroom is upstairs, move your mattress onto the floor, to reduce the temperature while you sleep.

 

Survive the summer tip 7). Open windows and close curtains and blinds

Opening the windows allows fresh air from outside to circulate. Closing the curtains and blinds keeps sunlight out of the home, reducing the increase in temperature. To cool your home further, hang a wet sheet in front of the open window.

 

Survive the summer tip 8). Limit electrical usage where possible

Electrics, such as lightbulbs, cooking appliances, laptops and televisions, all generate heat when switched on and being used, which increases the temperature in the home. Therefore, where possible, try to limit your use of these and ensure you turn them off when not in use.

 

survive the summer tip 9). keep your bedroom cool

Sleep is vital for health and to manage symptoms for those with chronic illness. However, quality sleep is more difficult in the heat as hot temperatures can disrupt sleep, preventing us from falling asleep and causing us to wake more times during the night. As well as using the tips above, these are some additional tips that help me keep cool and minimise my sleep disruption:-

  • Tie your hair up (if applicable) – keeping it off your neck helps keep you cooler.
  • Create a cold water bottle. Fill a hot water bottle with water and freeze it for an hour before going to bed. Remove and take it to bed with you.
  • Remove duvets and blankets and sleep with just a sheet on top of you (or no sheet at all if preferred).
  • Cool bed sheets. Put your bedsheets in a sealed air tight bag to prevent moisture getting on them and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes before going to bed. Remove them from the bag and transfer them back to your bed. 
  • Sleep downstairs, if possible, where temperatures are lower. Regardless, as hot air rises, move your mattress onto the floor – the lower you are the cooler you will be. 
  • Cool socks in the freezer and wear them to bed. This will help to cool your whole body. 
  • Use bamboo bedding (UK Link/US Link). Bamboo is:-
    • 100% natural,
    • Chemical free,
    • Thermal regulating & moisture wicking, meaning it helps remove sweat and moisture from your body while you sleep, helping to keep you cool.
  • Indoor plants. When temperatures rise, plants release excess water into the air from their leaves which not only cools them but also reduces the temperature of the room they’re in (6). The most commonly recommended ones are:-

 

Survive the summer tip 10). Keep your car cool

Getting into your car during the summer heat can feel like stepping into a furnace! Here are some tips to help keep your car cool to minimise the hot temperature when first entering:-

  • Park your car in a garage or in the shade, if possible.
  • Use sun shades, like Kinder’s, which blocks over 99% of the suns’ rays to minimise the increase in temperature. This is especially useful when parking in the sun is unavoidable. You can get these shades specifically:-
  • Cover the steering wheel with a cover to keep your hands cool when touching it (UK Link/US Link).
  • If you have leather seats, cover them with a towel and remove them before getting in. This keeps the leather cool and prevents your skin burning when you first sit on it!
  • Turn on the air conditioning a few minutes before getting in your car and setting off to reduce the temperature.
  • Car windows don’t block the suns’ UV rays, so wear sunscreen even when inside the car.

 

maximise the health benefits of sunlight

Although hot temperatures can be difficult, sunlight has also been shown to improve our health by increasing energy levels, improving sleep, easing anxiety and stress and boosting our immune system (78). Click to read my other blog post – 5 Tips To Maximise The Health Benefits Of Sunlight.

 

Other blog posts on chronic illness

Click to read my other blog posts with other tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health and manage chronic illness:-

 

other blog posts on health and wellness

Click to read my other blog posts with tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health and wellbeing:-

 

Contact me and Follow me on social media

I hope these tips are helpful. What helps you stay cool in the summer heat? I’d love to know what helps you. Leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Youtube.

 

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4 thoughts on “Survive The Summer Heat – 10 Tips”

  • Yesterday, I did a few of your suggestions! I’m so thankful that I had a cooling towel to hang around my neck. I was helping my sister and niece stain a big wooden fence all day. It was humid and HOT. I drank water (10 cups) and refreshed the water on my cooling towel often. It really helped. My sister, not as focused on taking care of herself as I am due to having Fibromyalgia, was really worn out and sweaty by the end of the day. Love your water recipe! I need to try it. I just had lemon in mine.

    • I’m so glad they were helpful Katie, thanks for letting me know! I don’t envy you doing that work in this hot weather but I hope you’re holding up ok today. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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