themighty logo

21 Things That Happen in Warm Weather When You Have a Chronic Illness

Longer and hotter days, for many people living with chronic health conditions, come with changing symptoms. For some, the changes are welcome (warm weather and higher humidity can do wonders for some types of chronic pain), but for others, it can mean more fatigue, overheating, or even symptoms brought on by air conditioning.

We wanted to know the different side effects people experience due to warmer weather, so we asked our Mighty community with chronic illnesses to share what happens to them when the weather begins heating up. Share to spread the word that for people living with health challenges, summer can have consequences the average healthy person likely doesn’t deal with.

Here’s what our community told us: 

1. “My muscle, bone and joint pain gets much better in warmer weather, but my fatigue gets much worse and I just feel really weak. And depending on the kind of heat or temperature it could trigger a migraine.”

2. “Heat always makes my pain 10 times worse. As soon as I get overheated, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I immediately need to go to bed with all the fans on and wait until my body’s alarm systems in every muscle and joint stops blaring.”

3. “It helps a lot! I have found that cold and ice are not my friends. The only relief I’ve ever gotten are with heat, whether it be in the form of hot water or a heating pad, or yes… even the sun when the weather gets warm. I live in Montana, and since the onset of my chronic pain, I have grown to dread, even hate, winter because of the bitter cold.”

4. “Warm weather makes my symptoms 10 times worse. It basically makes me stop in my tracks and I have to fully focus on what I’m doing in that moment, so I don’t pass out or have a flare-up. Overheating means my heart will start racing, lightheaded, and nausea… etc. Overheating can happen whenever it wants, without a warning. It can even happen to me in a cold room. Which it does, a lot. But it happens more often and it’s worse in the warm weather. I’m actually really anxious about the summer because of the heat.”

5. “I have rheumatoid arthritis. 80+ degree heat (dry and humid) is the worst for me. I already hate hot weather, and with rheumatoid, heat makes me swell, stiffen, and ache. Pain goes up. Haven’t been in a hot tub in years, doubt I could tolerate that anymore. Summers in Colorado are generally miserable for me, and without AC.”

6. “The swift hot/cold temperature changes in spring/fall leave me extra achey, and if it’s over 80 degrees Fahrenheit I can’t go outside without my inhaler because the heat sets off my asthma, going from air conditioning to heat. Also I get heat stroke and dehydrated easily during the summer.”

7.The warmer weather is fantastic for me. The damp and cold make everything worse. Living in the U.K. this means most of the year I have increased pain. From Christmas to April tends to be a long roller coaster flare. I barely leave the house and a lot of time is spent in bed. Once it warms up I don’t flare as much and find I get out more. I look forward to the brief times of warmer weather and the slight relief it brings.”

8.I have two forms, possibly three forms of dysautonomia also known as autonomic dysfunction. When summer hits I have to mostly stay in the cool house or cool stores when out because my dysautonomia causes me to have severe red hot flushing and causes me to overheat quickly. I have to use cooling towels and my body hates anything above about 78 degrees. I get fatigued, weak and even more lightheaded and dizzy. I sometimes pass out. I get more migraines too. However my muscle pain is much better in the summer… worse in winter as cold aggravates it. I love summer, but my body hates it.”

9. “I prefer the hot to the cold. The cold just exacerbates my complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Generally, the pain is overall less in the spring and summer… though I tend then to push myself harder… causing more flare-ups. However, I’m still (after almost 10 years) looking for comfortable sandals. Plus, just thinking about walking around with my foot open to the air makes me cringe. It hurts to wear socks and shoes, but the thought of someone or something bumping my exposed foot makes me shudder.”

10. “I went to California several times… I always feel less pain. I’ve been to Hawaii twice and felt much better. Sadly, I live in rainy, damp Oregon where the weather constantly shifts… my pain levels get higher right before the weather shifts or the barometric pressure changes. My joints and muscles hurt severely.”

11. “I find when the warm weather rolls around (especially when it rolls around quickly) that I flare up pretty severely. The muscle and tissue around my joints swells causes awful discomfort. Then comes the lumps and bumps and weals! Usually I’d have to lay up in bed for a few days until it passes. Chronic idiopathic urticaria and angiodema makes summer super fun.”

12. “I have to take medication that makes me menopausal (without this, my cancer treatment wouldn’t work) and I have regular, severe hot flushes because of it. Hot weather makes all of this 500 times worse.”

13. “I have fibromyalgia which causes intense temperature intolerance. As soon as it hits 70 degrees it feels like my skin is burning from the inside out and I begin to sweat through anything I wear. It causes muscle aches and nausea, and even small chores become monumental tasks.”

14.I have Sjorgen’s syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. If I get hot, I dehydrate, my heart rate goes up, I get dizzy, and the brain fog sets in. From the sun, I get a rash. It was so bad, even staying out of the sun, that I got a rash from being slightly warm for to long. To the point that it led me to getting my EDS diagnosis. I had to get a biopsy on a rash that covered my entire upper body for months.”

15. “I live in the tropics, so warm weather is actually my biggest ally regarding pain flares, but it does mess up my blood pressure. But since we stay around 77°F (25°C) is the perfect weather. Any drop below the 62.5°F is an instant trigger flare for me.”

16.I honestly think I could live in a sauna. I drink more water, naturally. Joints move better, bones feel less brittle. I went hiking in Oahu, pain-free! All that incline in Minnesota would have my moving like the Tin Man with out spiky temperatures.”

17.I’ve got reconstructed bones in my foot and elbow after traumatic impact. The warm weather helps my aches and pains a lot. However, I also suffered quite a lot of nerve damage to my elbow which hurts in air conditioning unless covered.”

18. “It helps with my general pain from myalgic encephalomyelitis but then I get migraines from light sensitivity if I’m outside too long, even with sunglasses on.. but it’s much easier to go out of the daylight to prevent that than it is to deal with my pain on cold days, so I prefer warm weather.”

19. “The sun feels wonderful on my joints, but the UV rays send me into a lupus flare and causes rashes. Air pressure fluctuations bring on migraines. Humidity is horrible for swelling up my finger joints.”

20. “Heat and humidity are horrible for me. I have COPD and can’t breathe when summer comes. It feels like I’m breathing through a pillow. I miss a lot of work because I have a hard time leaving my apartment. I have to be at work at the hottest time of the day: 3:30. I sit all morning contemplating going in or staying home. My anxiety goes through the roof just thinking about going outside in summer.”

21. “Having ankylosing spondylitis I welcome the warmer weather as it helps my joints and my back, however in Australia where we can get constant 40 degree+ Celsius days and even 34 or 35 degrees Celsius, you need the air conditioner on and that’s the killer. The cold air makes pain worse so I can only have it on for short periods at a time.”