Heat, Humidity, and Disorders

Here in my little corner of ye olde MidWest, we’ve been experiencing some pretty extreme weather. We have been having severe heat and humidity that is above and beyond what we normally have in the Summertime.  We haven’t been getting a lot of rain, so we are under a burn ban and also drought conditions.  Some counties have imposed water restrictions, meaning that they limit how much water a household can use each day.  I am lucky that my county has not yet done this because I am somewhat of a water hog.  When we do get a storm, it is severe with high winds, strong lightning and it often leaves a lot of destruction.

All that being said, it needs to stop.  We need a nice, even keeled weather pattern to kick in.  This extreme weather is causing a lot of problems for people with allergies, digestive issues, muscular/connective tissue diseases, and neuroimmunoendocrine disorders.  This includes disorders and diseases such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis; Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and Arthritis; and Chronic Fatigue Immune Disorder (CFIDs).  There are some remedies to help beat the heat if you have a disorder or disease that is causing unwelcome symptoms.  Of course, it depends on the type of illness.

I have found that nothing beats a nice ice pack on the back of the neck.  However, if you have Lupus, Fibro, or CFIDs this may cause some issues due to sensitivities of the nervous system.  A wet rag ran under cold water would work in such cases.  Lowering your body temperature will help to keep you from dehydrating and, if you get dehydrated, will ensure that your body can go back to regulating its temperature.  Also, cooler showers may help but, again, watch the extreme temperatures if you have a connective tissue/nervous system disorder.  This may cause you more pain in the long run.  Instead, just try a lukewarm shower.  Eating popsicles is a great way to cool off, and you can make your own to avoid any food triggers that may cause issues with your disorder.  Electrolyte supplements can help, but I have heard of people with Lupus, Fibro and even Arthritis being intolerant to such products, so again be sure you can stand it before you use it.  I like Gatorade.  Some people are shocked at the level of sugar and sodium in it, but that combination of sugar and salt is how you regain electrolytes.

As for people with digestive disorders, the heat and humidity can be especially unbearable.  It can cause several extended trips to the bathroom and make it difficult to keep much food down.  I have found it a good idea to stick to soft foods and liquids when the humidity gets high.  The heat doesn’t seem to bother me so much, but the humidity wrecks my system.  Keeping yourself hydrated is key.  You are already getting dehydrated with all those trips to the bathroom.  That on top of the heat/humidity combo can be dangerous.  Again, be aware of your food triggers.  I find that Gatorade works well for me so I drink lots of it.  Some people with digestive disorders cannot stand food dyes, so use caution.  I also find that Pedialyte works well if I become too dehydrated.  I eat a lot of popsicles, use the ice pack, and REST.

If you have heart disease, resting and staying hydrated is not only imperative to your comfort and activity levels – it can mean the difference between life and death.  Be careful in this heat.  If there is a heat index warning, do not go outside.  You might feel okay but I cannot count the number of times I have seen people come through the ER doors with heart problems because they were out pulling weeds in the heat.  Don’t do it.

Rest is probably the most important thing to do in this heat and humidity.  With the weather swinging around, the barometric pressure extremes can also cause problems.  It’s a good idea to be aware of what this does to your body and to find ways to either prevent it from happening or to treat the symptoms as they occur.  This can prevent or lessen the effects this nasty weather will have on your system.


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