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20 Ways Summer Affects Fibromyalgia Symptoms

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Many may look forward to the summer season for the warm weather, time off from work/school and long, relaxing days spent outside with family and friends. But for those with chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, the heat and light of summer can have a major impact on how you feel and what you’re able to do on any given day.

Every person is unique, so every fibro warrior may be affected differently by the summer season. The warm weather may be a blessing for some, while others may hibernate and count down the days till autumn! Either way, it’s important to raise awareness of how the season can affect people with fibro so that others may have a better understanding of the condition. That’s why we asked our Mighty community to explain how summer affects their fibromyalgia. Whether you’re currently struggling with fibro flare-ups or basking in the warmth of summer, hopefully you’ll be able to relate to some of the following and know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. Heat hurts me. I’m usually indoors in air conditioning when it starts getting hot. The heat makes me feel weak, extremely fatigued, irritable and will put me in a flare. I don’t think anyone understands this unless you actually have fibromyalgia.” – Dee F.
  2. So. Much. Sweat. It’s like nothing I do can help me cool down.” – Lauren H.
  3. Air conditioning is my worst enemy. Summer is the time I feel my best but too much time in an overly cooled room and I’m straight into a flare. I cannot deal with air blowing on me unless it’s warm.” – Heather C.
  4. The heat causes such an intolerance to cold because it’s always so hot that my body gets used to it. The cold hurts. Migraines like crazy because it is so hot and the pressure is bad. The sun triggers migraines because of the light. Summer is just a nightmare.” – Eloise T.
  5. I’m a mail carrier with fibro and deliver in the Texas heat. I am heat intolerant. I am completely soaked in sweat within 10 minutes. After a few hours, I start getting chills and I feel as though I have ants crawling and stinging me on every inch of my arms and legs. After that, the pounding headache, muscle fatigue, clumsiness and nausea kick in. Bonus: I swell. I always end the day two times bigger than I started. I don’t know why I keep working in this weather.” – Christina H.
  6. Like most everyone who has commented, the heat is unbearable. It makes my fatigue increase, my pain increase and a lot of the weird symptoms pop out too. Foot cramp, one swollen ankle, muscle twitches, tingling face.” – Amanda W.
  7. Summer is the worst. Some of my medications don’t react well to overexposure to sunlight, which makes it impossible to enjoy the sun and hot temperatures. Not only do I develop migraines, but the heat also causes my digestive issues to flare, and the sleep issues get even worse since it’s so awfully hot. It’s the most miserable time of the year for me.” – Bonnie P.
  8. I feel like I am walking through treacle. All of my joints stiffen and seem to hurt more. My feet get all swollen and puffy and I just feel so fatigued. I seem to sweat profusely and my face swells and goes red and blotchy.” – Carrie B.
  9. I get foot/leg cramps all the time from being in the cold air from the A/C. But can’t be in heat either.” – Samantha S.
  10. Summer heat is actually easier for me than winter. My body works better being warm than trying to keep warm in the winter, as my circulation isn’t great. My main issue though is remembering to drink more so my body doesn’t ache from lack of hydration, which happened yesterday.” – Amanda G.
  11. “Brutal sweating, breaking out in hives/rashes, etc. and brutal exhaustion.” – Ingrid M.
  12. Summer storms seem to be the worst for my migraines. I think it’s a combination of the atmospheric pressure and the heat that causes them or, at the very least, makes them worse.” – Shelby C.
  13. The heat and humidity make it harder to function in the summer. I get more fatigued, nauseous and I can’t cool down so it’s harder to go out with friends.” – Emily K.
  14. I’m very sensitive to heat. It exhausts me and I get rashes all over my body. I am extremely light sensitive, so have to wear indoor and outdoor prescription prism TheraSpecs. Sadly, I have to limit my outdoor time during the day, but try to go out for a walk after 7 p.m.” – Lisa S.
  15. I dehydrate easily and my muscles swell up so I sleep with ice packs and try to keep a frozen bottle of water with me so I always have cold water.” – Kendra S.
  16. I get awful migraines and dehydration in the heat and it heightens my fatigue and ‘lead legs.’ The last two years the heat has also caused costochondritis with terrible chest pains and an inability to catch my breath. It’s only been a couple weeks into summer and I’m already ready for fall and relief.” – Katelyn I.
  17. The heat seems to make everything worse. If I get sunburned, I go into a flare.” – Heather M.
  18. Humidity. Weather changes. Sunlight. Heat. I hide a lot more than I used to now and spend too much time indoors. Bug bites bother me a whole ton more and I live out on country forest property. Lots of them. Everything aches more when it’s humid. But then again – when I turn on the air in my car to drive, I smell the A/C and that triggers headaches.” – Leah M.
  19. I go from turning really red and hot (without sweating) to sweating [so] profusely that I become dehydrated.” – Caroline A.R.
  20. The heat of the summer is amazing for me. The sun recharges my battery and I feel less fatigue. The heat relaxes and warms my body so that my pain is less intense. I start to feel better, like my old self. Then I walk into the air conditioning and it’s over. I throw on a layer of clothing and curl up under a blanket. I wish my family enjoyed the heat as much as my body does.” – Jennifer P.
Originally published: July 3, 2018
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