Withstanding the Heat with RA

While some of us with RA enjoy the heat and feel better when it's hot out, many of us can be affected negatively when the temperatures start to rise. As we get further along into these warm weather months, we at RheumatoidArthritis.net compiled a list of tips and tricks for beating the heat of the spring and summer (and sometimes even fall)!

Staying in the air conditioning is one way to do it - if you have air conditioning and are willing and able to stay inside. But what about those of us that don't have air conditioning, or those times when you have to (or want to) be outside? This is when certain cooling products can come in very handy. In addition to cooling vests, there are products for the head, neck, wrists, hands, legs, feet, and ankles. Here is just one example of a place to find such helpful "accessories", so to speak.

Other helpful tools include more obvious components: a fan - both the big and the small handheld kind - can work wonders if you can connect it to an outlet in a backyard or porch, for example. That way, you don't have to miss the outdoor fun while still remaining relatively cool in the heat! Along the same lines, a hose mister (from places like Lowe's) can keep you extremely refreshed when outside, without getting completely soaked. Additionally, keeping a water bottle handy - to drink from or to squirt yourself with! - can provide much-needed relief.

In addition to the above ideas, you may want to give one (or more!) of these a try...

  • When at all possible, try to plan outdoor activities, exercise, or errands for early in the morning or later in the evening - to avoid being out during the hottest, middle part of the day.
  • Wear light clothing - both in color and material.
  • Want to make your own neck-cooler? Place a wet sponge in a ziploc bag and then store it in the freezer. You will have a portable, malleable ice pack for your neck (or really anywhere on your body) when it needs cooling down!
  • Drink lots of water - staying hydrated helps you feel cooler, plus being hydrated is great for the body, especially in the heat! Adding mint leaves, cucumber, orange or lemon slices to a pitcher of ice water can add some refreshment and fun to the mix.
  • For quick relief, hopping into a cold shower can work wonders. The bonus is that it can also take longer for the body to heat up after taking one.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, so snacking on refrigerated fruit and veggies can help our body cool down from the inside, not to mention help us stay hydrated! Chopping up fruit and putting it in the freezer can make for an even more fun treat - frozen watermelon, strawberries, or pineapples can be cooling and delicious!
  • Speaking of cold snacks - both popsicles and crushed ice can be used as relatively simple ways to cool down from the inside out as well!
  • Wear sandals as much as possible - as opposed to shoes and socks, which can raise your entire body temperature by making your feet sweaty.
  • If you're out in public and need to cool down quickly, go to the nearest public restroom and let cold water run along your wrists for 60 seconds. It can really take the edge off!
  • Keep a damp washcloth handy to pat your head and neck for instant relief - or tie a bandana around the back of your neck for continuous cooling.

How about you? What are your best tips for beating the heat with RA?  Please share with us in the comments below! 

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