It’s the most dreaded season for POTSies everywhere, the time of year when it feels like we must surely be living in Satan’s buttcrack; it’s…SUMMER!
I know a lot of people love Summer and frolicking in the sun, working on their tans clad in nothing but swimsuits.
I, however, am a pale ghost lady who cannot regulate her own body temperature. Somehow, even if I stay in an air conditioned building, my body just knows that it is disgustingly hot outside. If I actually have to go out in the heat for any reason I am totally screwed.
The past few weeks have been varying levels of sweltering so I have been constantly fighting off attacks of severe hypotension where I get woozy, nauseous, shaky, and have trouble staying conscious. Gross.
It happens every Summer, and yet every Summer I have to relearn how to deal with the heat. This time I am going to actually write all this stuff down, and maybe it will help other POTSies out there too. [Obviously I am not a medical professional and you should consult your doctor before changing your treatment plan!]
- Stay in the air conditioning as much as possible. Get your doctor to write a letter stating your medical need for a temperature controlled environment and ask your energy company if they offer discounts. Some companies do and that can help decrease your power bills.
- Fans. Get a box fan for your room and a little folding fan to carry around with you.
- Electrolytes! Sooo many electrolyte drinks! Gatorade, Vitalyte, V8, Skratch; yeah give me ALL that.
- My mom invented a drink for me called a “Gatorita” which is essentially a virgin margherita slushie made with Gatorade, lime juice, ice, and a lot of salt. She makes them for me when I am having a really bad hypotensive episode and it usually does the trick. Mom says I am like a wilted flower coming back to life after I drink it.
- Potato chips! Practically a health food for someone like me who has to be on a high sodium diet. Munching on a handful of potato chips a few time a day can help keep my blood pressure up.
- Insulated water bottle. I just recently got one and this thing is amazing! It keeps liquids cold for about two days! Having a cold beverage to sip on definitely helps.
- I have a feeding tube and my feed sets have two bags; one for feeds and one for flushes. The flush bag holds water that goes through the line once per hour just to kinda prevent clogs and help with hydration. Sometimes I mix electrolyte powder into the flush bag for a little extra hydration boost.
- When I do have to go outside I try to stay in the shade as much as possible. I have a parasol I use to shade myself from direct sunlight.
Hopefully now I will be a little more prepared next Summer! Or if all else fails (and I win the lottery) I can always buy a Summer home in Alaska!
If anyone else has tips for getting through this season please leave them in the comment section.