5 Ways to Beat the Heat While Living With Psoriatic Arthritis
Summer. The season we looked forward to most as school kids. No school, no rules. Summer was symbolic for ultimate freedom. Well, as an adult managing psoriatic arthritis (PsA), I've come to look toward and prepare for summer the way a soldier prepares for battle. Prepared but cautious.
PsA in the summertime is a struggle!
Last summer, we had a family trip and spent some time at a pool. While very relaxing and enjoyable, the aftermath was not. Trust me, I was slathering myself with SPF 50 and sitting under an umbrella - with very little of the “red” warning signs, my body did indeed go straight to painful blisters.
Of course as soon as I was aware, I took myself in but the damage had been done. This summer, I’m considering going full-on body suit. Let's talk a bit about heat, sun and humidity and the triple whammy role they place in PsA management during the summertime.
Do you struggle with heat intolerance?
Warmth from the sun and in the air should feel amazing. For a quick while it just might but it doesn't take look for the environment and ourselves to feel like we're burning in the fires of hell. he heat that should feel epically amazing is suddenly stifling.
Managing sun exposure
More than ever before, I feel the need to walk around in a SPF, UVA, UVB 50 bubble. I know we all need our vitamin D, some of which we can only get from the sun, but is there a balance to be found?
Humidity and swelling
Summer humidity can spark a flare just as much as winter rain and snow. Minding the weather forecast can tell you when it is better to choose to stay indoors to avoid particularly the afternoon humidity and by extension, potential joint swelling.
Tips for surviving summer with PsA
So what can we do about it? Living with PsA for quite some time, I've learned how to welcome the warmer months in safe and effective ways. Lessons learned if you will. For those with this condition, sun and heat can straddle the line between help and hindrance. Here's what I got for you.
Trust me, I know. The benefits of staying hydrated isn’t a news flash. This is not a ground-breaking tip. But it really is the number one way to enjoy the benefits of a little sunshine while keeping the negative effects in check. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to stay hydrated, despite the extra trips to the bathroom.
Mind your time
The need and benefits of true, from the sun, Vitamin D is a necessity. True, too much sun can be detrimental but avoiding sun altogether isn’t the answer either. Find your sun time sweet spot. If given the choice in the summer, morning rays with my morning java will always be my favorite time.
Check your medications
Some of the medications we take make us more susceptible to the harmful rays of the sun. In some cases, the slightest bit of sun can result in additional rashes or even blistering.
Invest in proper sun-safe clothing
They no longer just make swimsuits with sun protection in mind. Now there are effective and adorable options such as shrugs, lightweight long sleeves, and comfortable pants that offer sun protection without trapping in the summer heat and humidity - without the need to slather on additional creams.
Quality sun protection creams count
Sun exposure and psoriasis outbreaks can easily go hand-in-hand. Aging skin and wrinkles are likely the least of our worries if we don’t make it a priority to invest in quality SPF creams and moisturizers. Double-checking those ingredients can translate to a more expensive product and for the safety of your skin, worth the extra cost.
This or That
Do you know what type(s) of psoriatic arthritis you have?
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