Jul 8, 2010

Beating the Heat!

Although we experience at least one heat wave per summer in the Pacific Northwest, most residents-- myself included--are ill-prepared. After all, it is only this hot about 10 days out of each year if we are lucky. I used to adore weather like this. But post-dysautonomia, hot temperatures are literally a shock to my system. I do everything I can to avoid getting overheated now, including hanging out in an empty air conditioned movie theater where I am free to put my feet up on the seat in front of me. And eating Popsicles to my heart's content.

Staying hydrated while loading up on extra salt and potassium is also important for everyone to avoid dehydration and salt depletion as a result of excess perspiration. My standard is Gatorade, but other juices like orange juice and apple juice also contain plenty of potassium. Staying nourished with lighter meals throughout the day also helps combat that heavy, sluggish, fatigued sensation that hot temperatures can often exacerbate. If your home is lacking an air conditioner, consider investing in a small portable one in addition to several small fans to circulate the air. My favorite tip is freezing a 1 gallon milk carton filled with water to create a giant ice cube and placing that in a large bowl in front of your favorite fan. Currently my favorite beat the heat remedy is a small mist bottle that cost a couple bucks at my local drugstore. Fill with ice cold water, and voila! An instant refresher.

I find that on hot days, the less physical activity I do, the better I feel. It is really best to take it easy on days like this. And although they are hot and a bit uncomfortable, I continue to wear my compression stockings at home, running an ice pack over my legs from time to time. Meditation is also therapeutic on hot days where relaxing is often the best if not only thing you can really do. Most importantly, if you have a beach or body of water nearby and are able, don't be afraid to take a dip, especially if there is a chiseled, good-looking lifeguard on duty. Avoid sitting in direct sunlight or on the pavement, which is about ten degrees hotter than everywhere else. If you do venture outside into the heat, wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide some shade, load up on the sunscreen, and wear light layers to stay cool. The small mist bottle is an essential that should be kept in every potsy girl's purse during a heatwave.

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