10 Things to Do to Stay Cool on Hot and Humid Days

“Helpful Hints" from the PH Professional Network (formerly PH Resource Network)

  1. Remember that chronic illness interferes with your ability to tolerate heat. The body cools down by increasing heart rate, breathing rate and sweating. Medications can alter the body’s response to heat and ability to cool down.
  2. Talk to your doctor before summer to make sure your health condition is at its best. Monitor your symptoms and call your doctor if you have weight loss or increased lightheadedness, headaches or nausea. Water pills and fluid intake may need to be adjusted if you are in the heat and producing more sweat.
  3. Pay attention to weather reports. Plan outside activities around the forecasted temperatures and heat index.
  4. Move your outdoor exercise activities inside to a location with air conditioning. Run errands early in the day or late in the afternoon. Be sure to avoid peak temperatures. Never sit or rest in a parked car or enclosure where temperatures can soar.
  5. Take a cool bath or shower. Lounge in a pool. Dip your feet in a tub of cool water.
  6. Carry an umbrella or floppy hat for instant shade.
  7. Wear cotton, loose-fitting clothing. Wear lightweight socks and shoes or switch to sandals.
  8. Cool off with a fan — even outdoors.
  9. Place ice on your wrist at the pulse site or a damp washcloth on your forehead or neck. Cool your skin with a mister or damp washcloth.
  10. Use air conditioning and keep your blinds closed during the day. Even at higher temperatures, air conditioning takes the humidity out of the air, making it easier to breathe. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a mall or library or friend’s home.

By Traci Stewart, RN, MSN
University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics

“10 Things to Do to Stay Cool on Hot and Humid Days” is one in a series of “10 Things to Do” created by the PHPN Education Committee to serve as a resource for PH patients. This series was inspired by the original “10 Things to Do When You, Your Child or Someone You Love is Diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension,” written in 2007 by Traci Housten- Harris, RN, MS, of the PHPN Education Committee.

Disclaimer: We encourage readers to discuss their healthcare with their doctors. This newsletter is intended only to provide information on PH/PAH and not to provide medical advice on personal health matters, which should be obtained directly from a physician. PHA will not be responsible for readers’ actions taken as a result of their interpretation of information contained in this newsletter.

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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.