Managing Body Temperature with Heat Intolerance

Leah Leilani avatar

by Leah Leilani |

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heat intolerance

As you all know, summer is upon us, and that means trying our best to stay cool. Here in Southern California, the June gloom is almost gone and that familiar, nostalgic feeling of summer has finally come. Pretty soon, everyone will be blasting their air conditioning and licking popsicles in the shade.

Some people don’t realize that having a chronic illness doesn’t mean that our bodies are only affected by one disease. It’s usually a domino effect — one illness leads to another. For me, that means that along with mitochondrial myopathy I also have cardiomyopathy, fibromyalgia, and tachycardia. The one that is the harshest on my body in the summer, though, is heat intolerance. Heat intolerance makes it very easy for my body to get overheated quickly and difficult to cool down. In today’s column, I will share some tricks for staying cool and maintaining a regular body temperature.

I believe it goes without saying that air conditioning and fans are a must to fight off the heat. In the state of California, a Letter of Medical Necessity signed by a doctor secures a reduced rate on air conditioning for individuals with medical needs, to help alleviate certain conditions.

Sometimes when a person is out and about, it can be nearly impossible to find shade. Before you find yourself burning to a crisp and sweating a few gallons, come prepared. Always bring an umbrella wherever you go. It doesn’t have to be a huge and heavy beast; something small and light should do the trick.

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Around this time a decade ago, I was getting packed to go to MDA Summer Camp. Each of us kids counted down all 360 days from the end of camp until we could return. It was the highlight of our year. At the time, I had only been diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy for a few years, yet my mom knew that we’d have to get creative with ways to keep me cool. Having been an avid hiker when she was young, my mom knew about a certain necktie that holds temperature thanks to jelly-like beads hidden inside the scarf. It’s perfect for those scorching days in the sun because our necks tend to heat up and cool down easily.

There’s nothing better than the feeling of splashing cold water on your face in the dead of summer. I recommend buying a spray bottle that has a fan attached to it. That way, the air from the fan will continue to keep the water on your face cool. In the days of venturing to the beach and to Disneyland, this was a must-have.

Heat intolerance is real, and for some people, it can be a serious issue. I hope that these tips and tricks give you some relief from the heat and help you to experience all that this summer has to offer.


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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