alt=a woman being severely affected by a heatwave, sweating and fanning herself.

How Heat Waves Affect Me

Last updated: August 2022

I don’t know where you live, but recently, we’ve had a massive heat wave where I live in Canada. The humidity has been into the 40s Celcius (100s Fahrenheit), and it’s been a nightmare for me.

The humidity makes me feel awful

Ever since 2019 (a year after my diagnosis), I cannot handle the heat the way I used to be able to. I remember discovering this in Portugal on our one and only beach day. When we got to the beach, the heat hit me differently than I’d ever experienced.

I instantly couldn’t breathe, started overheating, and was massively uncomfortable. I was with my brother and friend, but neither of them could understand what was going on. They were fine with the temperature, so why wasn’t I?

Ever since then, when there’s a heat wave with high humidity, I feel the exact same way I did on that day at the beach.

As a person with long hair, this is made so much worse if my hair is down. I’ve considered cutting it shorter for summer, but I absolutely love the length and I can’t do it.

I start overheating almost the second I walk out the door. The sweating starts and I begin to have trouble breathing. It’s awful. I’m not exactly sure what the cause is, but in the past few summers, I’ve spent more and more time inside when the heat waves hit.

Outings in a heat wave

Sometimes I have plans during a heat wave which is both exciting and terrifying. As I mentioned, when it’s really hot out, I don’t really go outside as much. But when I do, I’m happy to be doing something but terrified at how I will be affected.

I recently went downtown to visit my brother while the temperature outside was blistering. Every second spent outside made it harder and harder to breathe. I was sweating from what felt like my entire body, and I felt like I was the only one. My brother was totally fine and he was wearing pants! I was wearing a dress and just about dying in the heat.

My tips

I have a few tips for going out during a heat wave, or even going outside in the backyard!

  1. Try to get a water bottle that will keep your water cold for hours. I try to carry water with me everywhere I go during the summer and in the hotter weather. Make sure to stay hydrated not only during heat waves but always!
  2. Buy a portable fan. I have a battery-operated fan I bought on Amazon and it helps in those moments where you’re standing (or sitting) still and need some airflow. It may not be much, but it does help!
  3. Find instant ice packs. I personally have yet to use these, but I was told about them and will definitely be getting some for the rest of summer. You break them like a glow stick and they’re good to go! Put them on either your spine or the back of your neck.

Your tips

What are some of your tips for getting through a heat wave, and do you experience what I do in the humidity?

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