BuffRockChick

Acclimating rather than avoiding summer heat?

16 posts in this topic

We're getting the first summer temperatures and I'm finding myself torn between embracing the heat and letting myself acclimate to it versus avoiding heat and the more intense (uncomfortable but not harmful) POTS symptoms.

Has anyone successfully acclimated to hot temperatures? 

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Last October my apartment complex moved me to a temporary apartment while they were getting ready for the renovations. The temp apartment did not have working AC. It is on the 3rd floor and was hot even through our mild winter. By early May I could not handle it anymore. The heat was so bad I could not cook... or even function while I was at home. I would look forward to my days at work. My cardiologist was kind enough to write a note so my apartment complex would fix the AC. I have noticed a drastic improvement of my symptoms. My manager is kind of pissed but I didn't know what else to do. I had fans blowing, and a tiny cheap window unit was not cutting it. I have found AC is a nessecity for me. I can handle a little heat for a limited time, I just have to keep an eye on my heart rate. But since they fixed my AC my heart rate jumps less, my irritation, hot flashes, headaches, and even brain fog is less. It is so nice.

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We can relate with StayAtHomeMom!  The heat for my girls is horrible!  The temp here is usually very tolerable, not usually too hot or too cold.  It doesn't snow here.  But, we've had more extremes this year and have had temps in the 90's quite a few times since March.  A little unusual and it just makes them ill.  We have AC and it has to be running until late at night, especially for my youngest.  The side affects of the heat are endless.  Fortunately, this year is one of those anomalies, but still trying to keep cool while it's here now.  My youngest usually does well in the heat, but I think we've had a little bit more humidity this year than is normal for us.  So, it's not something they can acclimate to.  Sure wish it was, but maybe it's possible for you! :D

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I will try!  

I had a really good day.  I woke up to 45 bpm pulse.  Seems like the lower my resting heart rate, the less dizzy and fatigue I have during the day.  When I wake up with 70 bpm pulse it's going to be a very bad day.  Anyway, temperature was 85 degrees today.  I was able to scrub my deck in the shade.  I got quite a lot done before getting dizzy.  Later I sheared 2 sheep with my husband holding them. The barn is cooler, but it's hot work.  I had to stop a couple times when getting dizzy.  I'm learning to accept tachycardia but set my boundary at dizziness with vision disturbance.  I was in bed 6 times today and didn't dare go out in the sunshine midday.

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@StayAtHomeMom, your story is encouraging because summer up here is shorter than the amount of time you spent without AC.  Thank you for sharing!  I'm glad you got AC in your apartment!  How long are you able to tolerate heat?

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It depends on the temp, below 75 in the shade I am ok for at least 45 minutes. Direct sun or above 75 is about 15 minutes before I start noticing my symptoms getting worse. We had a mild winter here which sucked but it started hitting 70 outside by April. I think it is gonna be a really hot summer. I am stoked my AC got fixed. I can enjoy home life a little more and try to do more, like cook an actual meal instead of microwaving it. I noticed now that I can get away from the heat I can manage more time in the heat. Before the AC got fixed it was more like 5-15 once the temp got above 70. Even in my house.

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That sounds reasonable, but also seems like you're in a warmer climate.  We're about 35 degree average in April.

I can deal in summer, worst case is I turn the AC on and the garden gets weedy.  But what really worries me is August when I start canning.  It's HOT.  Terribly hot.  I used to cook down several batches of tomato sauce.  It takes 14 hours per pot!  And if I neglect it I'd scorch it and ruin the whole batch.  I was VERY unwell during tomato canning, and "stir-crazy" takes on a whole new meaning!

I got an electric canner I can run outside on the deck and I took DH that I'm not cooking down tomato puree this year.  We'll do crushed tomatoes instead. I think giving up on tomato puree so I'm not standing at the stove, and being able to can outdoors in the shade where it's cooler will help.  I'm still worried about getting through August!

I want/need to collect data in heat and compare to my earlier results.  I collected data on walking from the garden to the house (my nemesis) in 55 degree weather during a flare-up.  I want to compare.  Walking between house and garden is enough to keep me out of the garden.  I'll have enough energy to weed, but walking up that hill in the heat is just not happening.  Last year I had a POTS flare in August and it was awful.

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It sounds like you live in heaven (or we are using different temperature scales mine is Fahrenheit) My mom recently moved to colder weather and I am a teeny bit jealous. She is able to enjoy outdoors more. When I talk about being outside I am not doing anything, usually reading a book. Just so I can be outside and stop staring at the same 4 walls.

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(((hug)))

-20 degrees F in winter is no fun.  I have difficulty in winter and my POTS flares because I'm inactive and get deconditioned.  My circulation shuts down and I have pain from the cold.  Especially touching cold wet things - inevitable when taking care of barn animals. I had to give up rabbit breeding due to my difficulty with their care in winter. :( I need to move to a different climate too.

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Hmmm... that is interesting. I wonder if my body would have a hard time in the cold then. Like I said this winter was mild here. I think it barely got to freezing and we had a dusting of snow once. I hope you can figure out something, it sounds like you enjoy being outside. Have you looked into cooling vests?

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I'm sorry to invade this thread with a question that isn't about the heat, but the light! I just don't know what search keywords to use to find out if this has been discussed before. My husband keeps asking if it's a POTS thing that he feels "better" in bright sunlight than on a cloudy day? Since we're in Finland, heat is not the issue, sunny days are rarely hot. My experience says that our mood might be better on a sunny day, more serotonin thanks to the light and such, but if anyone has any "medical" knowledge on POTS + sunlight, I'd be happy to hear.

 

On the topic then, my husband has to avoid heat, before we knew about POTS, he tried to enjoy the sun like he used to, and always he had to return indoors feeling unwell after a few minutes. We couln't understand it. Now we do, he avoids direct sunshine, overheating and enjoys the light from the shade. We used to hope for hot summers (rarities here), but not anymore.

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@FinnminDoes he have low vitamin d? If so that may be part of it but I think you are right about sunny days just making you feel happier.

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I have definitely not been able to "acclimate" to summer heat, I just have to avoid it. I am currently living in Texas without A/C (only for another week when we move!), and it is miserable. It's been pretty consistently in the 90s since June began, and it gets over 100 pretty often in the July/August months. I have to sit in front of a fan constantly, or I get quite sick and unable to function. However, my body also responds terribly to the cold. My joints do not like the cold at all, so I honestly find that I have to be inside during both extremes.

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I've managed to partially acclimate, to the point where I can stand low to mid 30s (90s F) for short amounts of time. Before, I could barely stand anything over 25 (75 F). It hasn't helped much though. The temperature swings pretty wildly here, sometimes 40 degrees Celcius in one day, and it quite warm too: not infrequently going into the 40s (100s F). Last year, I was more successful and could manage the 30s (90s F) ok. 

I always carry frozen water bottles, some sort of electrolyte drink, water and high-salt snacks. It helps, but for all that and the partial acclimatization, I'm still hopping from air conditioned building to air conditioned building for most of the summer.

I also have issues with cold, but they're pretty mild in comparison. Even when the temperature goes to -40, enough layers make it manageable.

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When I have worked in air conditioning during the day, those years I seemed to struggle most with heat tolerance.  I'm trying to avoid air conditioning this year to see if it makes much a difference.  I'll use AC in the car or in bedroom to bring it down to outside temperature.

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Finnmin, is your husband's sunnny/cloudy problem worse in winter?  If so, he might be susceptible to winter depression, aka seasonal affective disorder.  For me, being out in bright sunlight makes me feel terrible, POTS-wise, even if its not too hot out.  But then, I live at about 39 degrees North latitude.

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