4 Quick Tips for Staying Cool in the Summer Heat

Last updated: August 2023

Summer has been in full swing, and if you're anything like me, you are searching for ways to cool down and stay comfortable. Being on cancer treatments can cause overheating even more quickly in such high temperatures. Some people even experience vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, which can make matters worse.

Certain medications can increase heat-related health risks

Taking anti-depressants is tricky in the heat. Some side effects of anti-depressants can expedite heat sickness. That's because certain medications can inhibit the bodily functions that help regulate temperature and thirst cues.1

It's essential to bring up any of these concerns with your healthcare team if you have them, especially if you are on any medications like that. You might not know it, but being on certain medications can affect you differently and more intensely. It's not just you!

Know the signs of heat-related illness

It's important to recognize the signs of certain heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke or heat exhaustion, in yourself and others. Symptoms to be aware of include:2

  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Sweating

Staying cool with metastatic breast cancer

So, learning quick ways to keep yourself cool when the temperatures are scorching is essential. This summer's temperatures have been pretty record-breaking across the country, so I'm sure some cool-off tips and tricks would be welcome and helpful to anyone with metastatic breast cancer or those going through treatments.

Living in Arizona, my area is experiencing quite an intense heat wave. Temperature records have broken nearly every day this past July. It has felt like it's been survival mode to beat the heat since last month.

While this is not my first summer living in the desert, it is my partner's. It's been quite interesting to pass on my desert summer tips to her so she can thrive in the summer months. Here are some ways I combat the intense summer temperatures so I can go about my day safely.

4 tips to beat the summer heat

1. Start your day earlier than usual

Something I have been trying to implement for my daily schedule is getting up earlier in the morning. Usually, the hottest time of the day is the afternoon, so running errands in the morning can make being outside more bearable.

Usually, the hottest part of the day in Arizona is around 4 PM, so I consider that a win if I can get tasks done before the mid-afternoon.

2. Be mindful of shaded areas

When I'm out, I park under trees in the parking lot to keep the inside of the car cool. I also have a sunshade in the car that can help when no shaded parking spots are available.

3. Bring water with you

Always, always, always remember to bring water with you everywhere, no matter what! Lately, I even take my water bottle for a quick trip to the store. When I know I'll be out for a few hours, I use an insulated aluminum cup filled with ice and water. It keeps my water cold for hours.

4. Wear sun protection

If wearing hats is for you, then this next tip you'll love! My partner and I have been wearing baseball caps more often, and they certainly help with the sun shining directly on our faces. Even in the car, it's been essential.

Sun hats are a pretty big deal here in Arizona, too. Before moving here, I didn't own a sun hat. But sun hats come in handy. There are even gardening hats on the market with fans on the top that can keep your head cool. Isn't that incredible?! The more sun there is, the more shade you'll need, so if hats are your thing, make some shade!

Take extra caution in the heat

Remember, heat affects everyone differently. Remember to hydrate even more than you usually drink, and try to stay caught up on your water intake. Using sunscreen is also very important to protect yourself and your skin.

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