What Does Warmer Weather Mean for Fibromyalgia?

Image: Yuriy Seleznev/Shutterstock

Image: Yuriy Seleznev/Shutterstock

Temperatures are heating up all across the country, and you’re not alone if you find it uncomfortable. After all, there’s a range of temperatures that most people find comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold. But if you have fibromyalgia, the weather affects you a lot more.

Temperature Sensitivity

Many fibro sufferers feel worse in extreme weather. Some are only sensitive to cold weather, while others suffer most in hot weather. If you’ve ever had an older relative with arthritis who could predict the weather based on their pain, fibro sufferers deal with something similar. Those who have fibromyalgia seem to have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature, which makes it harder to adapt to extreme temps.

Poor Sleep

Fibro sufferers have enough trouble getting a good night’s sleep as it is, but it’s even worse when the weather is warm. Those who don’t have air conditioning will find it even harder to sleep. Trying to solve the problem with fans won’t always make it better, though, because then the indoor temps can become too cold or the air too dry. Humidity is particularly bad because there’s little you can do to reduce its effects.

Dehydration

Hot weather makes it more likely that anyone can get dehydrated because of the amount of water your body loses through sweat in trying to stay cool. But for unknown reasons, people with fibro are even more likely to get dehydrated in hot weather. The key to managing this symptom is to make sure to drink lots of liquids—water, whenever possible. Try carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go. If you prefer the taste of filtered water and don’t want to spend a ton of money on bottled water, get a reusable bottle that has a built-in filter that you can use with tap water. (Most bottled water relies on the use of similar filters, anyway.)

Staying Comfortable in the Heat

If you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning, you definitely want to use it. Although running air conditioning can be expensive and many people with fibro are on limited budgets, your A/C system will run more efficiently if you keep it at reasonably steady temps throughout the day. If you turn off the A/C for a while then only turn it back on when the heat gets unbearable, it will actually make your air conditioner work harder—and make you more miserable in the process.

If you don’t have air conditioning at home, make sure to leave the house during the day and hang out at some place that does have it, like a friend or family’s member’s house, the mall or the public library.

Make the most of your wardrobe to help you stay comfortable. Choose light-colored and loose-fitting clothing in breathable fabrics like cotton, which makes a big difference in helping you stay cool.

Even though warmer weather may be more uncomfortable for some people with fibromyalgia, you can also make the most of it. Take every chance you get to go swimming and enjoy the sunshine—just make sure you get plenty of opportunities to be in air-conditioned comfort, too.

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