Fibromyalgia and Heat Sensitivity
Since we are experiencing temperatures in the 90 and 100-degree ranges, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how the heat affects many of us with fibromyalgia. Most people with fibromyalgia report having temperature sensitivity. Some are sensitive to cold, others are sensitive to heat, and still, others react to both.
This is what sucks about Fibromyalgia – it doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is, what season it is – there is always something about the weather that affects our bodies and makes these illnesses flare up. Temperature sensitivity is a frequent problem among Fibromyalgia patients. Some of us can’t tolerate the cold weather, some of us can’t tolerate the hot weather, and others of us (like me) can’t tolerate either. My fingers, ankles, and legs will swell up like crazy in the heat and that just makes my muscles and joints hurt like crazy.
When my pain level goes way up anything touching my skin is extremely painful, including my clothes. In the winter, I feel like the cold goes right to my bones.
Yesterday and today have been a couple of rough days for me as far as the major fatigue and pain. It reminds me somewhat of the cold, winter days when I can wake up and know that it is really cold outside because my body feels the temperature. It’s the same with the heat and the humidity. I woke up yesterday and this morning with a bad headache and a lot of leg pain and I knew that it was hot and humid outside. Also, the heat makes me short of breath, dizzy and cranky.
As strange as it may sound to some, heat sensitivity is the most life-altering of all my fibromyalgia symptoms – even worse than the pain and fatigue. Before I go anywhere, I must make sure the temperature will be tolerable for me. I can’t tell you how many outings and events I’ve had to miss because of this problem. And I’ve had to miss my grandkids’ birthday parties that were held outdoors in the summer. In the summer months, I’ve basically held hostage in my own home in the heat of the day where I can control the temperature.
- Over the years, I’ve tried several different techniques and purchased dozens of products in my efforts to stay cool. Here are a few tips that have worked best for me when I simply can’t avoid the heat:
- Wear soft, lightweight clothing that fits very loosely.
- Stick to light colors because dark colors absorb heat.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you always have a cold drink (preferably water) to sip on.
- Avoid alcohol as it causes you to lose body fluids and tends to make you feel warmer.
- Take a cool bath or shower.
- Sometimes just soaking your feet in cool water can help cool your whole body cool down.
- If you don’t have an air conditioner, put a bowl of ice in front of a fan to help cool the air.
- Wet a bandana with cool water and wrap around your neck. This helps me when I’m working outside.
- Take a dip in the pool during the hot part of the day
I’d like to hear from you. If you have fibromyalgia, does the heat bother you? If so, do you have any tips that help you with the summer heat?
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Margarita & Stace