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Summer and Chronic Illness

Summer and Chronic Illness

A person living with a chronic illness expends more energy in a typical day than an average person. The fact that their body is in a constant fight with itself tends to take a toll. All of that seems to be magnified by unseen stressors (e.g loosing a job, large amounts of physical labor, somebody passing away) and the environment around you. One of the bigger factors I have noticed is summer.

I don’t know how it is where you are at this moment but we have had a week straight of triple digit temperatures. I think the highest was close to 110 and we had around 85% humidity. No matter what, heat like that gets to anyone. If you’re dealing with a chronic illness, however; the feeling of heat exhaustion kicks in a lot quicker. Personally, I get horrible headaches, get dizzy, and start to feel nauseated. Not that big of a deal on a grand scheme of things, but usually that night it gets worse. The headache never fades and pain sets in for a nice long night of tossing and turning. The next day the pain and headache are worse because of the lack of sleep. At that point I have two options, suck it up and deal with it or load up on meds and be a zombie. I usually go the suck it up route but on really bad days I will call in sick and be a total zombie.

There are precautions you can take that aren’t that different than what normal people take. Wear a hat, lots of sunscreen, plenty of water, and rest. I have talked to my rheumatologist for further ideas and there don’t seem to be many. My solution has been to wear 3/4 sleeves, sunscreen (lupus flare ups are agitated by sun light), always have water with me along with extra meds, and learn not to push myself. That last one has been my Everest, I just don’t know how to sit back and do nothing!

If you know someone with a chronic illness, I recommend one thing, help them! If they are making a grocery trip, help unload the car. If their lawn needs to be mowed, arrange for help. A small thing can go a long way to make it through the summer and stay healthy.

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  • Barbarad By Barbarad
    08.30.11  

    I think you are an amazing Spoonie, dealing with Lupus, a baby, an adoring husband that has his own chronic illness. You inspire me to be a better mother, sister and friend. Thank you my love! Mom

  • devinkal By devinkal
    09.29.11  

    I an so glad you posted this, I have a chronic illness and summer is indefinably my worse time, thank you for understanding and teaching other readers about it.

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