Your Guide to Survive Summer with a Chronic Illness

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Summer is just around the corner, and for me this means sweat, swelling, rosacea, heat intolerance and more! You see, living in Florida and having 3 chronic illnesses myself, I know just how difficult the humidity, the sun, and the heat can be on chronic illness! However, I’ve found a few ways to make the summer heat more manageable and I’m spilling all my tips with you today with Your Guide to Survive Summer with a Chronic Illness. I hope this helps!

Head Outside Before 10 am or After 4 pm

The sun is at its strongest between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, so if you plan to go for a run, swim, or visit to the beach, I highly recommend visiting outside these hours. If you absolutely must be outside, make sure you have a wide brimmed hat or rash guard to manage your chronic illness during the summer.

Use a Pool to Your Advantage

If you’re looking for an easy way to get exercise in, or if you’ve just spent a long day in the sun at a theme park and your joints are all swollen from the heat, make a trip to the pool! The pool takes gravity out of the equation, making it a great relief if you struggle with joint pain! The cool waters also provide refreshing relief to my sun rashes, making this my retreat in the summers.

I use the pool to exercise, to calm down my joints and skin, and to relax my muscles. It’s hard to describe just how magical the cool water can be if you struggle with a chronic illness, but you should definitely try it. When my husband can tell I’m hurting, his first recommendation is a visit to the pool as he knows how much it improves my pain, mood, and sleep. Trust me, you won’t regret making the pool your best friend this summer!

Person swimming freestyle in a pool

Wear Sunscreen Every Day

This seems like the most obvious recommendation to survive summer with a chronic illness, but this is because it’s so important! Even if you aren’t planning to be in the sun, it’s still so essential that you wear sunscreen! First, sunscreen builds up over time, so the sunscreen you wear today will step up to help tomorrow when you visit the pool. Additionally, research has shown that the “blue light” emitted from tv screens, computers, tablets, and cellphones can do just as much damage as spending the day in the sun, so you should still protect yourself with sunscreen.

I recommend physical only sunscreen as it doesn’t allow UV rays to break through the surface of your skin at all (unlike chemical sunscreen). My favorite physical sunscreens include Erin’s Faces Peptide Sunscreen and Dime Wonderscreen as they don’t leave a white shadow, unlike other physical sunscreens.

Wear Light, Loose Fabrics

Skin-tight clothing like leggings and biker shorts are not your friend in the summer! Try loose, lightweight clothing instead, like cotton and linen! In the summer, I promise you’ll see me in a different colored Old Navy linen short every day of the week, no joke! I love that they have pockets to hold my phone, don’t chafe, and are so light and breathable. I particularly ensure I wear these for my theme park days to survive my chronic illness during the summer.

Find a Hat with Coverage You Feel Confident in

For me, I like a wide brimmed sun hat for the pool. However, when out and about running errands or visiting the theme parks, I feel it draws a bit too much attention for my preference. In these cases, a baseball cap is my go-to. Regardless, I can see and feel a massive difference in my rosacea when I wear a hat, which is how I know the importance of a hat during the summer with a chronic illness!

woman sunbathing in a lounge chair next to a pool, wearing a sun hat

If You’re Outside, Find the Shade

Try taking a walk in older neighborhoods with giant oak trees or park your car under a shady tree while you run errands. Additionally, it might feel excessive to ask your family or friends to move to a shaded area while waiting for food or watching an outdoor show in a theme park, but it’s truly worth it! You can feel a massive difference in temperature between a shaded area and a spot in direct sunlight.

Pack Lots of Snacks

If you have a heat intolerance like me, you might notice that your blood sugar drops much more quickly when you’re overheated or in the sun. I definitely notice mine does! Be sure to pack a wide variety of snacks that include both protein and sugar and pack a large quantity of it, so you aren’t left in a bind!

Stay Hydrated

The sun and sweat are both known to dehydrate you much faster, so make sure you stay hydrated. In fact, I recommend adding at least an additional 20 ounces to your daily water intake during the summer! If you’re engaging in physical activity, you’ll need to account for this with more water as well to manage your chronic illness in the summer.

If you still find yourself feeling dizzy or fatigued even after increasing your water intake, consider adding electrolytes. Sometimes, even after drinking enough water to turn into a fish, I still feel faint, tired, and light-headed. When this happens, electrolytes almost always do the trick and get me feeling back to my usual self!

Woman drinking water from a water bottle, standing outside in athletic clothes with a towel around her neck.

Take More Breaks

It’s no secret that I’m a Disney theme park fanatic. As much as I love Disney, it can be much more difficult to navigate chronic illness in the summer months as such a large portion of the parks are outside! During the summer months, my husband and I find ourselves taking breaks much more frequently to ensure I take care of myself.

We might head inside a quick service location for a snack in the air conditioning, hop into the line for an attraction with a higher wait time if the line is indoors, head to a nearby resort with cozy chairs for a rest, or we’ll simply find a shaded bench outside to rest our feet for a minute. Regardless of your summer plans, be sure to include numerous breaks, as you’ll likely run out of energy much quicker in the heat of the summer with a chronic illness.

Conclusion

That’s it for Your Guide to Survive Summer with a Chronic Illness. Do you find yourself struggling more with your chronic illness during the summer? If so, what tips work well for you? Let’s chat in the comments below! Take care!

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28 thoughts on “Your Guide to Survive Summer with a Chronic Illness”

  1. Swimming is a great way to exercise- the water really soothes! Also, I’m taking my son to DisneyLand Tokyo and DisneySea this August! Am super excited. It’s our first time at any Disney! (We’ve done Universal Studios in Singapore.)

    1. I agree completely, I love the water! Oh my gosh, you and your son are going to absolutely love it! I’ve heard such incredible things about DisneySea; you’ll have to report back how it is!!

    1. I agree; I found such freedom when I started to learn how to handle my stress in a healthy way. Thanks for your comment; take care!

  2. Summer is a great time for most people but often challenging for some dealing with chronic conditions. I like how yoy have pointed out key details of how to survive and enjoy this period!

    1. Thank you for your comment! I agree completely; summer can definitely be a challenge but hopefully some of these tips help make it more bearable.

  3. These are such great ideas. I can definitely vouch for using a pool. I have a knee issue and being on the water helps so much. Thx for the great info!

    1. I didn’t realize it either until recently, and ever since then I’ve been much better about wearing my sunscreen. Thanks for commenting!

  4. This is a great and comprehensive list for those suffering from a chronic illness to survive the summer. I think a pool is the perfect option! Great tips!

    1. I have a love hate relationship with the outdoors haha. I love being at the theme parks and by the water, but I hate to be overheated haha!

  5. I, too, am a recovering perfectionist and aspiring good-enough-ist as Brene Brown likes to say. These are great tips, especially finding shade and drinking enough water – those are so important and can’t be stated enough!

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