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Why My Body Hates the Warmer Months

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I hate springtime and summer time. There, I said it. Though honestly, it’s not me that hates the warmer months, it’s my body. See, I have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and the heat makes both of them worse. The warmer the weather, the more my blood vessels dilate and the harder time they have constricting to help my body move blood around. Which means that my blood pools or collects, even more than it normally does in my arms and legs, I have even less oxygen getting to my brain, heart, and lungs than I normally do. I am more fatigued than normal, and I just feel worse overall in the warmer months.

• What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
• What Are Common Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms?

To add to this, I live in Texas, so the temperatures here from May to September truly get unruly. With my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome added into the mix, I also experience more pain in the warmer months and during the time most know as spring. In Texas, springtime weather is chaos more so than normal as we go from 40 degrees one day to 85 degrees the very next day. This takes a massive toll on my body as a person living with chronic physical health problems.

Because of the back and forth weather in Texas during this time and the massive amounts of heat during our extended-length summers, I’m basically stuck indoors from April until October. My doctor even told me recently that 74 degrees or below is my ideal temperature in any place that I am for long periods of time because of my POTS, which means I stay in fully air-conditioned places with well-working electric fans for most of the year. To help combat the heat as much as I can, I drink plenty of cold water, use ice packs when I need them (particularly on the back of my neck), eat extra sodium to help increase my blood volume and blood pressure, and eat cold foods. I also try to park in covered parking spots, use a sun blocker in my car’s front windshield to help keep my car cooler when it’s parked, and overall spend most of my time inside during the spring and summer.

Sometimes, I feel like I miss out on fun activities during the warmer months, like swimming, sun tanning, or being outside with my dog because I am so heat intolerant. I wish I could enjoy the spring and summer time with my friends and family more than I’m able to, though I’m fortunate to have people around me who will do fun things with me indoors like arts and crafts, baking, long conversations, and watching YouTube or TV. It’s lonely having chronic illnesses in the summer and spring months, because it seems like everyone wants to be outside except for
me. But I make due the best I can, with my 40 ounce water bottle and lots of air conditioning!

Originally published: April 9, 2018
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