Blog Classic: June 22, 2010
It's sad that I now look at a change of seasons through the lens of "what symptoms I have to worry about now," but that's they way it goes with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. To stay on top of our symptoms, we need to anticipate the ones we can, and head them off as much as possible.
Summer has officially begun, and while it's unseasonably cool in my corner of the U.S., I know that's not the case for everyone. With temperatures rising, we need to be especially aware of and prepared for heat sensitivity.
Not all of us are heat sensitive, but among the people who took my poll in June 2009, about 20% are always hot, 25% fluctuate with the weather, and 40% fluctuate randomly. Nearly 1,300 people took the poll, and a whole 7 folks said they don't have temperature issues at all. Wow.
My biggest problem with heat is that my hands and feet puff up like crazy, ache, and refuse to cool down. The only thing that really helps is soaking them in cold water, so I spend a good bit of the summer sitting with my feet in the bathtub. Other overheating symptoms I get include a really red face, excessive sweat on my head, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Like pretty much all of my symptom triggers, overheating can cause pain that ricochets around my abdomen.
That sounds crazy to anyone but us, but it's a real, medically recognized phenomenon. When heat (or cold) that doesn't actually damage your tissues causes pain, it's called thermal allodynia. You can learn more about allodynia here: 7 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain.
If I keep my body from getting overheated, though, I don't have those problems. It's not always possible to keep cool, but I've learned several things that can help. There's the basics -- lightweight natural fibers, staying hydrated, sticking to the shade -- but when those things aren't enough, cooling products can really help. About.com Multiple Sclerosis Guide Julie Stachowiak has put together a great list: Top 10 MS Cooling Products.
What are your heat-related symptoms? What helps relieve or prevent them? Do you have more problems with heat or cold? Leave your comments below!
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- Fibromyalgia Symptoms List
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms List
- Complementary/Alternative Treatments
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