After my successful EDS Survival Kit post some time ago I’ve been meaning to write one for POTS and just never got around to it! But now the UK is facing an unprecedented heatwave it seems like there really isn’t a better time. This post will include lots of products that help me survive the summer with the heat intolerance caused by POTS. Most of my keeping cool hacks will be relevant to anyone struggling in this weather and, at the bottom, I’ll add some extra year-round tips mainly for POTSies.
PoTS or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a form of Dysautonomia. Which, without all the big scary words, means that the body struggles to do all the things it’s supposed to do automatically (regulate blood pressure, heart rate etc) when you go from lying to sitting or sitting to standing. It causes a wide range of symptoms from dizziness and fainting to problems with digestion. Heat often makes this so much worse.
I was diagnosed back in 2016 and now manage my POTS fairly well with medication, exercise and all of the helpful tips, tricks and products I’m about to share with you. If you want to learn more about POTS & Dysautonomia please head to my youtube channel and check out my 2019 Dysautonomia Awareness Month Series!
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical professional and POTS and similar conditions vary so much from person to person that these things may or may not be helpful for you. If you’re unsure please contact a medical professional. I am sharing my own personal experience of how they help me manage my condition. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click and make a purchase.
1. Wearable Fan
This little beauty has literally been an overnight game changer! I ordered it on a whim and it’s been really helpful. The fact it’s handsfree means you can keep cool and it doesn’t distract from your usual activities, I’m literally wearing it as I type. It’s not heavy so isn’t aggravating my neck either. It has 3 speeds settings and is simple to recharge and can last between 3 & 10 hours depending on the settings you use. It also has colour changing lights which are fairly pointless but definitely a bit of fun to brighten up your day. It’s also quiet so wearing it whilst watching TV hasn’t been an issue. For less than £15 it’s an absolute no brainer to help you stay cool for me! Mum bought a fancy Dyson fan this week and I’m nowhere near as impressed with it as I am with this!
I’ve been using this to help with my headaches for a few months now and it has been amazing as an ‘escape pod for your head’ and it definitely has a dual purpose in keeping you cool in the heat. It uses specially designed ice to keep you cool but means you don’t have to get wet or covered in condensation and the headband is comfy and easily adjustable. It comes with various sizes of ice so you can arrange it just where you need it. I’m excited to do a video for you showing you exactly how it works when my camera is repaired! A couple of cons is that it is a little pricey especially as I was hit with import duty to the UK from Canada but, for the amount I use it, it was definitely worth it and would buy it again in a heartbeat. The only other difficulty I have is if I want to wear my glasses at the same time it can be a bit awkward but I either take my glasses off or have managed to get the placement so it’s comfortable but takes a couple of tries. They also have cooling towels and comfortable mask available.
3. YuYu Bottle
I have been wanting one of these for the last 3 years so I was so happy when I managed to win one in the EDS societies awareness month giveaway! I’ve always known they’ve been a great hot water bottle but as heat can mess with my POTS I could never justify getting it just for my joints and tummy pain (although I can’t wait to try it!) What I only found out on winning it is that you can actually use them for cold therapy too! (They recommend having 2 inner bottles if you are going to switch between hot and cold regularly) All I had to do was half fill my bottle with water fold it in half and pop it in the freezer for an hour and a half and it was perfect snuggle up with and keep me cool!
A quick word on cooling towels. I bought a Dock & Bay one back in October with high hopes but in all honesty, it just made me feel damp rather than cool and considering when I’m hot I spend a lot of time in bed, it just made my bedding wet and uncomfortable. Maybe okay for the gym but I haven’t used it since. If anyone does know any they’ve found helpful let me know!
4. Finally HYDRATE! I know saying this to someone with POTS who already drinks 3 litres of water a day can seem ridiculous but sometimes when I’m exhausted from the heat I struggle to remember to drink. I do love having my litre water bottle (I would recommend mine but it’s tripled in price since I bought it!!) to fill up and keep track of how much I’ve had. I also keep a 3L dispenser like this one in my room so I don’t have to keep going up and downstairs and aggravating my POTS every time I need a refill. Plus I keep these electrolyte tablets by my bed for days I need an extra hand. Top tip for electrolytes always be careful of ones with added caffeine! If you struggle with drinking so much I ordered some ice lolly makers this week and have loved making different lollies to help stay hydrated!
Year-round POTS hacks!
Showering with PoTS is a real challenge. Standing + Heat + Having your hands above your head = a bit of a disaster. So if you take away one of these elements things can become much easier. My Shower Stool was the best, and strangest, 21st Birthday present I got. It gave me my independence back and meant I could shower on my own. I specifically recommend the one linked in the title as it is so easy to put up and take down. I bought another one recently (accidentally not the same brand) as I’d left my original in Norfolk and couldn’t manage without. But on the new one, you needed a screwdriver to put it together and it was a nightmare. So I keep the new one as a permanent feature in my bathroom and take the old one on my travels when I’m staying somewhere that doesn’t have an accessible bathroom. I’m going to look at investing in this one with a swiveling seat in the future!
My hair dryer stand was one of the first things I got after being diagnosed with POTS. Again it gave me so much independence back. My mum and boyfriend tried to dry my hair for me in the early days I did not like it one bit. Drying your hair is another tricky thing with POTS because you’re already feeling exhausted post-shower then you are adding more heat and trying to hold something heavy above your head. This stand means I can sit on the floor and turn as it dries my hair for me. As a Brucie Bonus it also makes life so much easier on my EDS shoulders. If you want to see me using it in action check out one of my early youtube videos here.
3. Babyliss Curl Secret Hair Curlers
Styling your hair with heat is always difficult with POTS but since getting these automatic curlers I have struggled far less. I’m definitely not saying they make it easy and I still avoid it as much as possible but for the days I really want to make that effort I would never go back to other curlers. These make it quicker, the heat is more contained and have also found it less painful on my EDS hands and arms. Bonus is I haven’t burnt myself with them whereas that was a regular occurrence with my wand! It also means if you’re having a really bad day someone who’s never curled hair can do it for you easily if necessary.
4. Gin Gins
Whether it’s hot or not POTS can cause a lot of nausea. I’m lucky that I don’t get it as badly as when I was first diagnosed but I do still suffer with it sometimes and no anti-sickness meds seem to help but these definitely do work for me.
I really hope you found this helpful and please let me know in the comments what your favourite tip to stay cool is! Or your favourite POTS hack in general.
Spoons & Love to you all and hope the heat doesn’t affect you too badly!