For some patients, TMJ symptoms flare with the summer heat. It’s no mystery why. Hot weather dehydrates our bodies, placing strain on vital organs. The central nervous system and circulatory system also grow more sluggish. But hot temperatures are a danger for people of all ages, not just for sufferers of TMJ. That means the secret to staying symptom-free is the same for everyone. So follow these common sense rules for a healthy, pain-free summer.
1. Drink up!
Drink plenty of fluids with a straw. Water is your best bet. But you can also hydrate quickly and replace essential body fluids with low calorie Gatorade or similar products. Importantly, remember that you should drink fluids as often as possible, even when you don’t feel thirsty. When traveling, even if only short distances, make sure you bring a portable cup packed with ice and water. Avoid drinking alcohol. It will dehydrate you at a faster rate than other liquids.
2. Dress for Success
There are three rules for summer clothing. The first is cotton and linen. Wear them. These are summer fabrics which are lightweight and breathable. Secondly, make sure those fabrics are loose-fitting. Lastly, wear light colors like white, tan and beige. These colors reflect the sun, whereas darker blacks and grays absorb the summer heat.
3. Outdoor Tips
Minimize your outdoor time. Never engage in strenuous activity during peak heat hours. Running, biking and mowing the lawn should only be done early in the morning or late in the evening near sunset.
If you have to go outside, don’t forget to wear sunscreen. And don’t forget about sunscreen for your face. Many sunscreen products are hypoallergenic and designed exclusively for use on the face. Most importantly, they do not cause eye irritation or stinging.
4. Indoor Tips
If you can avoid the summer heat all together, by all means, do so. This means you should try to stay indoors as much as possible. Spend time in air conditioned spaces and make sure to limit your indoor activity. If your home is not air conditioned, explore other options. Go to the public library. Take a trip to a public shopping mall. You don’t need to spend money. Just sit down on a bench and enjoy the bustle of other people shopping. Starbucks is another great option. Relax as long as you want while gently sipping a decaffeinated smoothie.
5. Bathe Often and Eat Less
Try actively cooling down the body. Take cool baths. Use a cold damp towel. Place it around the neck, shoulders and upper back for optimal relief. Try eating smaller meals often instead of just a few larger portion servings. Reduce table salt intake (unless a doctor tells you otherwise.)
We have even more great suggestions to avoid the summer heat. Check out ideas mentioned in our June newsletter for further information.