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Battling the Summer Heat With RA

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 for the 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!

  • I avoid all outdoor activities on days over about 80 degrees…. unless I am in the pool.
  • I stay in the pool!
  • My pool is my happy place!
  • 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!

    Comments

  • epurushotham
    7 days ago

    I am having a real flare up. It’s soooo hot in so cal n I have to turn the air con on. Even at75 degrees I’m getting cold Nd it really hurts on my ankles n usual other joints. I’m new to RA n I feel low

  • tim29
    1 week ago

    Used to love the cold ac. Now not so much, cant do lower than 73 degrees F. But at night if its hot i worry im going to wake up drenched from occasional night sweats i get.

  • suwall
    1 week ago

    Anyone have problems with AC? It causes my joints to hurt as much as they do in winter. Everyone else will be perfectly comfortable but I’ll have a sweater on or a throw on me.

  • NPEOttawa
    1 week ago

    Yes! I’m so glad I do’t have it at home. Cool air is immediate agony on my joints. Some of the suggestions here make me cringe – for me they would be torture! I carry a long light coat in the car for grocery shopping or restaurants.
    But I feel unwell in very hot weather too. I dream about living in a place that is moderate all yr long.

  • Franki King moderator
    1 week ago

    I have the same dream! I recently moved to New York City where the weather is more extreme than I’ve ever experienced (I’m originally from California); somehow I made it through the winter and somehow I’ll make it through this muggy summer! -Franki, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    2 years ago

    I like the movie theater. Holding hands with Sheryl in a dark cool movie theater is special.

  • Lauren Tucker moderator
    2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing Lawrence ‘rick’ Phillips, glad the movie theater is a good spot for you to cool down. Hope you enjoyed the movie too!!
    Best, Lauren (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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