Battling the Summer Heat With RA
Last updated: September 2022
The dog days of summer are upon us. The heat and humidity that come along with these sweltering days can be difficult to deal with, even for the healthiest among us. For those with RA, the summer weather can prove to be quite a challenge, and can have a detrimental effect on RA pain. There is no denying the fact that these rising temperatures can make RA symptoms especially unfavorable, including triggering flare-ups and intensifying joint pain.
We asked our community members to tell us how they beat the heat and humidity with RA, and the answers we received were incredible! Read on for some of the snippets shared with us on how to be cool and stay cool in this hot, sticky weather.
Tips to manage summer heat with RA
Utilize the tools around you
- During the summer I stay inside the house all the time with the AC set at 68 degrees… the struggle is real.
- I stay in AC or I become very lethargic, achy and flu like. Other than AC, when it gets too hot I try to run cold water over my wrists and hands for relief.
- I keep a mist sprayer in the fridge with a few drops of Peppermint essential oil, just shake well, and chill...when I get really hot, I just mist myself.
- I apply cold packs to my joints that are hot or stiff to bring some relief and cool down.
- I have ceiling fans to keep me cool.
- I use ice packs on the back of my neck and it really cools me down.
- I open windows and turn on fans.
Many of you shared how important it can be to use cooling systems or tools at home or work. Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, fans, ice packs, or even wet towels may all provide relief when humidity and high temperatures take their toll.
Limit exposure to sun and heat
- I have to be very careful being in the sun; the heat is hard on me. I do all my outside work and run all my errands early in the morning.
- I stay inside the house, use light cotton clothes and go to the beach in the late afternoon around 5 pm, just for a short stay.
- I wear lightweight and light-colored, often sleeveless outfit.
- I carry around a water bottle, a spray bottle and an umbrella just in case I need to cool off more outdoors.
- I always wear light clothing, and a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses and I carry a bottle of water with me.
- I try not to go out between 12:00-3:00 when it's the hottest.
So many of you shared how important it is to monitor the weather and limit your exposure to the sun and heat. Planning errands in the morning when the sun is less intense or wearing lighter clothing are great tips to keep cool if you do need to head out!
Stay hydrated and snack on chilled foods
- I love ice cream, popsicles and cool fruit!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- I try to drink more water and lemonade and less hot coffee.
- I toss a fresh peeled pineapple (or strawberries and blueberries) into the blender, then fold in some whipped coconut cream from the top of a can of chilled coconut milk. I freeze my concoctions in custard cups and enjoy on a hot day.
As always, hydration is key. However, many of you also shared how you make frozen treats to keep cool and satisfy your sweet tooth!
Stay cool in the pool!
If the heat and humidity aggravate your symptoms, you may want to head to the pool. The water can help cool you down and provide relief to painful joints. If you don’t have your own pool or a summer-long pool pass is out of your budget, try talking to your local community or aquatic center about your situation and need for the facilities. They may be able to provide a limited or part-time membership or point you toward specials and other options that could lower the price.
Whatever works for you, we hope you can stay cool in this heat and humidity! Please continue to share with us how you beat the heat, and let us know if there’s anything we may have missed!
Have you struggled to afford your RA medications?