Surviving a Heatwave!

Blog Heatwave

The Unpredictability of British Weather

Today I will talk about Surviving a Heatwave. It is warm outside and feels even hotter in the flat. As it is June, it will only get hotter. Now, before anyone looks too puzzled and wonders what on earth I am worried about, let me remind you I live in Leeds in England! We have beautiful scenery, fabulous historic monuments, and plenty to recommend us, what the gods do not bless us with is any reliable weather. To put this in some context it is not long since I was shivering during the day meaning I needed to put the fan heater on. You literally don’t know where you are from one day to the next.

The Effects of Temperature on Fibromyalgia

I like, many others really struggle with temperature. Recently in the Fibro Connect Facebook Group we had a conversations about the seasons and taking the visual aspects out of it many of us preferred Spring and Autumn to escape the extremes of Winter and Summer.

What Weather Factors Affect Fibromyalgia Sufferers?

Experts have done research into how weather can affect Fibromyalgia, here is some useful information I found online.

There are five major weather factors that appear to affect fibromyalgia symptoms. These include: Temperature: Rapid changes in temperature can sometimes trigger a fibromyalgia flare or help to ease fibromyalgia pain. Cold weather tends to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse, while warmer weather tends to ease those troublesome symptoms. Barometric Pressure: Barometric pressure is a measurement of the weight that is exerted by the air all around us. On beautiful sunny days, barometric pressure tends to be quite high, but during a storm or similar weather front, barometric pressure drops suddenly. Fibromyalgia sufferers often find that these changes in barometric pressure can trigger muscle aches and pains. Humidity: Absolute humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor present in each unit of air. When absolute humidity is low, fibromyalgia sufferers often report headaches, stiffness, and flares in widespread pain. Precipitation: Precipitation is the term used to refer to any type of water that falls to the ground from the sky, including rain, sleet, snow, or hail. Precipitation is often accompanied by a change in barometric pressure and therefore may exacerbate your symptoms of pain and fatigue. Wind: Whether it’s a light wind or a gale-force wind, the wind generally causes a decrease in barometric pressure. This means that the wind can trigger fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches in fibromyalgia sufferers. I am affected by others on the list like Barometric Pressure and Precipitation but I will deal with them separately.

I recently found this survey by the Fibromyalgia Action UK group in the Health Unlocked Website showing how people with Fibromyalgia are affected by warm climates. The good news is that I am one of the 18.9% of people who feel instantly better in a warmer climate. However, things are never that simple. My pain gets better but other symptoms create new problems. There is also the issue of the extent of the heat.

Living Creatively with Fibro - A hazy green field with blue sky above on a sunny day

 Surviving a Heatwave

In our little flat the temperature becomes impossible when we have a hot summer day. I’m not talking about official record breaking heat waves I’m talking about standard summer days. We have checked the temperature difference before now of the lower floors of the house and our flat and they can vary by 10 degrees. Which is why I am literally talking about surviving a heat wave!

Have a good fan

We invested in a fan and it was beneficial. Rather than just oscillating the surrounding air it adds water from the tank. When it is boiling, you can add ice packs into the water tank to help cool it down even more. There are different settings on the fan so it can blow constantly or fade in and out like a passing breeze. This fan was good, and it got us through two summers until it started playing up and was no longer good enough.

Investing in an Air Conditioning Unit

If a fan is not enough if you can afford it consider investing in an Air Conditioning Unit. During the hottest month of 2016, our fan could not cut it. We were sitting with the Cooler fan on full blast with freezer blocks in it. About 10 foot / 3 metres away from it on the other end of the desks where we sit, we had another fan blowing on full power and we could still not manage the heat in the room. In 2018 we invested in an air conditioning unit, namely this one from Amazon, and is has made a dramatic difference. Dare I say it can even make the room chilly if we leave it on too long.

Cold Compresses

This one is fairly simple but if you drape a damp flannel over yourself when you have a fan on it really helps to cool you down. If it is boiling try using a large towel instead of a flannel (why didn’t I think of that before we hd the air conditioning unit – Fibro Fog) It can be cumbersome and not ideal for trying to do something, like craft but it is a relief when you really need one.

Pace Yourself

This is one of the main things you have to learn to do if you have Fibromyalgia but the rule especially applies in the hottest weather. In fact I wrote a whole blog post about Pacing yourself with Fibromyalgia. The lack of energy can become really out of hand when you overheat. If like me you are a creative type or a productivity fan and find it hard to not do anything. Choose something that needs very little energy, preferably an activity you can do sitting down. Good luck getting through the summer to all Fibro sufferers and anyone else who doesn’t cope well with heat.

Until next time,
Gentle Hugs,

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