There are a variety of health conditions that can make it harder to stay well in hot weather. As well as our general tips on staying cool and well, here are some additional tips for a handful of more common conditions.
For anyone who uses the NEUPRO (Rotigotine) patch:
If you’re wearing your patch outdoors, try to cover the patch with loose clothing to protect it from direct sunlight. This will also help keep the patch as cool as possible. Your NEUPRO patch must be stored below 25°C.
Get more information from Parkinson’s UK on managing Parkinson’s in a heatwave.
There are lots of reasons you may be finding it harder to breathe in the summer months. Air pollutants and high ozone levels along with hot or humid weather can make it harder to breathe if you live with COPD.
Air quality tends to be better when the air is cooler, so you may find your symptoms ease in the mornings and evenings. When walking outdoors, try to keep to the shade and avoid busy, polluted streets if you can.
Indoors, a handheld fan may ease your symptoms.
Get more information on managing COPD from the British Lung Foundation.
Your heart rate can increase in hot weather if you become dehydrated. This is because dehydration can cause your blood pressure to drop, which in turn forces your heart to work harder. It’s very important to stay hydrated if you have a heart condition.
If you take water tablets and start to feel dizzy or light headed let your doctor know.
Get more information from the British Heart Foundation.
In very hot weather, make sure you always have your blue inhaler with you and keep using your preventer inhaler as instructed by your doctor. Your inhalers are sensitive to extreme heat and leaving them in very hot places, such as the glove box of a car, can stop them working as well as they should – so keep them somewhere reasonably cool.
Hay fever can also make your asthma symptoms worse. Make sure you’re managing your hay fever well.
Get more information on managing asthma in hot weather from Asthma UK.
It’s important to closely monitor your blood glucose levels in hot weather. Protect your blood glucose meter and test strips by keeping them out of direct sunlight and storing them at a normal room temperature. Do not refrigerate your blood glucose meter or test strips.
On the other hand, your insulin is best kept in the fridge or in a cool bag. Insulin that has been heat or sun-damaged can appear grainy and sticky or become brownish in colour. Do not use insulin you suspect has been damaged by heat or sunlight. Speak to your doctor or diabetes nurse if you’re unsure.
If your diabetes has caused neuropathy, it may also be difficult to notice if your feet are burning in the sun, so apply sunscreen regularly.
Get more information on managing your diabetes in heat at Diabetes UK.
Some medicines can increase your sensitivity to sunlight, which means that your skin will burn more easily than you might expect. Skin damage can lead to skin cancer. If you're unsure whether your medication is likely to increase your risk of sun damage, read the guidelines included in the packet. Remember, you can always call NHS 111 for advice.
If your medication does increase your sensitivity, you should be even more vigilant in the sun. Always wear the highest factor SPF sun cream you can, and apply regularly. Take care to avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 11am-3pm, as this is when the sun's at its strongest.
If you're worried about managing your long-term condition, you can always contact NHS 111 for guidance and advice.
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