This is Why I Hate Summer 

Hating summer is a downer. It’s comparable to not liking ice cream (I’m not a fan, sorry) or going up to the giant Easter bunny at the mall and punching its head off. (Actually, that last part would be fun). But what I mean to say is, people start to not like you because you hate summer, and well, I want people to like me. Usually. 

It’s a time to enjoy being outside — the cloudless skies, the extra hours of sunlight — and oh yeah, my birthday. But, I still hate it. Not my birthday, summer. I HATE summer! I really hate summer and for one relatively small, yet tremendously overshadowing reason: it’s hot!

Okay, maybe I should instead say I hate hot weather. Because if I was living somewhere like, say, Seattle or Portland or Vancouver or, I don’t know, Antarctica, I most definitely would not hate summer. Actually, I’d probably hate summer in Antarctica too, but for an entirely different reason. 

Seriously, summer in the Pacific Northwest would probably be my favorite season — just the right temperatures — 50 to 80 degrees. The winter there might be a different story, but I’ve always been one to enjoy cold weather — bundling up indoors under a blanket. Besides, I find it much easier, or at least tolerable, to get warm opposed to cool off. 

New Yorker cartoon
To a certain extent I’ve always been like this, but even more so since getting MECFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome). A few years ago I came across an article by Dr. Sarah Myhill who is located in the U.K. The article explained how some people with the disease are essentially unable to sweat enough to regulate their body temperature in hot weather. 

While recently researching my symptoms, I found another one of Dr. Myhill’s articles that says people with MECFS are “heat intolerant” because our blood supply is low. She goes on to explain:

If you shut down the blood supply to the skin, this has two main effects. The first is that the skin is responsible for controlling the temperature of the body. This means that CFS patients become intolerant of heat. If the body gets too hot then it cannot lose heat through the skin (because it has no blood supply) and the core temperature increases. The only way the body can compensate for this is by switching off the thyroid gland (which is responsible for the level of metabolic activity in the body and hence heat generation) and so one gets a compensatory underactive thyroid. This alone worsens the problems of fatigue.

The second problem is that if the micro-circulation in the skin is shut down, then the body cannot sweat. This is a major way through which toxins, particularly heavy metals, pesticides and volatile organic compounds are excreted. Therefore the CFS sufferer’s body is much better at accumulating toxins, which of course further damage mitochondria.

I had an epiphany when I first read her explanation a few years ago. Not long before, I went on a short walk (I was still walking back then) in 95 degree weather. Right before I got back home, ascending a steep hill, I started to get heat stroke. I became dizzy and nearly passed out before finding some shade. There I was literally across the street from my house but I was unable to walk any farther. I realize this happens to other people without MECFS –normal people, you know, the healthy ones who can actually sweat and cool themselves down — but my case was different. 

My body was overheating, but was as dry as a sandpit. So I was basically stuck — every time I tried to get up and walk the 20 yards to my front door, my body would give out. I got this weird poking sensation all over my skin and torso. It felt like some evil person I had wronged was poking a voodoo doll that looked like me. I was eventually able to get home, but never again did I go out in such hot weather. 

Beyond the issue of cooling myself in hot weather, not being able to sweat presents another big problem: Toxins. 

As Dr. Myhill mentioned, sweating is a vital way for the body to eliminate toxins. And that got me thinking … Maybe one reason I got so sick was because my body wasn’t able to eliminate enough toxins and they were basically just building up in my body. Between my inability to sweat enough and my body’s trouble retaining fluids because of diabetes insipidous, I think it’s plausible. The fact that IV saline has helped me so much furthers the idea. 

As I imagine it: the IV fluids perfuse organs, like my kidneys, and now that’s how I flush toxins from my body. I think this because, ahem, my urine indicates so. Before I started getting IV fluids, my urine was always clear. Always. And I’m no expert but I believe toxins, among other things, are what gives urine color. So that my urine was clear meant the toxins were staying in my body opposed to being eliminated in my urine. 

New Yorker cartoon
If my idea is correct, IV fluids have helped, at least temporarily, reduce my toxin build-up. It’s a good thing too because, like some people do to detoxify, I refuse to try a coffee enema, I’m just not a fan of putting things up my butt, especially coffee. I don’t even like to drink coffee. (I know, if you had a problem with me hating summer now you’re really going to hate me for not liking coffee or ice cream). 

But my hatred of heat still remains, and no IV is going to change that. For now, until I find a nice, cool place on the coast, I guess I’ll just stick to cold rags on my head and ice water to drink.  Sounds like a party, doesn’t it?

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Oh, and please check out my latest piece for The Washington Post. 

24 thoughts on “This is Why I Hate Summer 

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  1. I don’t like the heat, either. I have orthostatic intolerance along with ME/CFS and I think the heat exacerbates the blood pressure problems. If my capillaries do open up to regulate temperature, then my blood pressure drops more. I just got back from a cruise to Alaska with my mom and I enjoyed the 60 degree weather and was able to tolerate more activity. Going out this evening in the 90+ degree heat to go to Target for supplies made me want to lie down. I’ll be glad when October rolls around again.

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  2. I dislike Summer–or, really, hot weather, which to me is anything over 80 degrees–so I understand. No medical problem here; I would rather be a bit cool than a bit warm. Sometimes I explain it by saying my grandparents came from Sweden, Scotland and Canada, but I don’t really know. It’s been like this since my late teens, or maybe earlier but I don’t remember.

    Dad has poor circulation, so he’s more like rugby843. We disagree about thermostats. We agree about ice cream, though (very much in favor), although sometimes he likes hot coffee afterwards.

    A few years ago I visited a coffee shop that was promoting its iced beverages for the approaching warm season. An employee greeted me at the door with the question, “How much do you love Summer?”

    “It’s my fourth favorite season,” I replied.

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    1. Hi Karen. Haha I like your reply. Quick wit. I forgot… fires, I hate summer because of all the forest fires. There’s a big one near me and the skies are full of ash and the smoke is killing my reputation. Damn you summer! Thanks for reading.

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  3. Very interesting read. But only one thing that stuck with me….you don’t like ice cream?????!!!!! wot. I’m lactose intolerant and I like ice cream.

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  4. I have the same problem in an opposite way. my legs don’t have circulation so they are always cold and my feet are like ice. I feel the poking like little needles at night and can’t sleep because of it. A funny thing has been happening lately at night. The most numb area of my hip and thigh started having lightning type pains, lasted two hours or so. Think I prefer the plain numbness.

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  5. How I commiserate with you! I grew up in Southern California, spending endless and wonderful days at Huntington or Doheny or Newport Beach. What fun it was then….coconut oil suntan lotion, snack bar treats, tanning in the warm sun. Now, I live on the Gulf Coast near Houston. Aargh……It’s miserable hot and unbearably humid. Over the years my A/C was first set at 72…now at 68. I simply can’t tolerate anything warmer. Luckily, power is cheaper than most places, about 10 cents kwh. I often tell my dog, Buttercup that I understand why she does NOT want to be outside….it’s not fit for man nor beast. So she stays in the cool house with ‘Mommy’ 24/7.

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  6. I’m the same! I always say that my thermostat is broken. Trying to ‘control’ my body temp has been impossible since M.E./CFS. I get hotter and hotter in the summer and frozen to the core in winter.

    Mostly I loathe the heat of summer. My healthy husband just splashes some cool water on his head and he soon cools down. For me though I feel like I’m internally combusting and the little energy I have drains away evermore as the temp increases. My legs feel mega heavy and weak and basically I just feel downright ghastly.

    As you are in the US do you have air con? Unfortunately here in UK it’s very rare and super expensive to have it installed in your home.

    Roll on autumn!

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  7. I’ll have to agree with you on all your points except the dislike of coffee. (coffee enema though? That’s a bit much.) Ice cream is overrated and there is nothing awesome about heat. All other seasons are superior to summer. When thinking about it, heat is the enemy to most processes, electricity transfer through power lines becomes less efficient, heat causes damage to motors, even computing suffers as our devices throttle themselves to prevent damage. Our technology and understanding of such is usually based around our natural observations. Yet, while knowing how absolutely terrible HOT summer weather is for us, people still say “can’t wait for summer. ” I don’t think enough time is spent on understanding the lasting effects of heat on our metabolic processes. Gotta say I really enjoy your post for prodding at that a little.

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    1. Thanks Man! Those are good points. I forgot about its impact on infrastructure.

      So I’ve tried coffee but never an enema so maybe I shouldn’t knock it till I’ve tried it. I mean, they say… never mind I’m just never gonna try it. Haha.

      Thanks for reading Chris!

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  8. Hi Jamison! I enjoy reading your blog.
    I like the heat as long as it’s not too hot! I find I just have a really hard time regulating my body temperature. I’ll be so cold so I’ll go outside and sit in the sun for a bit which feels great until I get too hot after about 20 min and then have to come back inside to cool off. And then the cycle repeats over and over all day.
    I too have learned not to go for walks on the really hot days! Or I’ll go at night when it’s cooler.
    Dr. Myhill seems to have excellent insights on the disease. I’ll have to read up some more on her. Keep cool!

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  9. You hate ice cream? You monster! 😉

    I’m not a fan of summer either. I think part of it was my Mama hated summer–so much so that spreading part of her ashes at a place called Never Summer seemed divinely perfect. Or maybe it was because I was born in the middle of a mid-August heat wave. Denver could get hot–though we were “lucky” in that it was a dry heat, and we never had air conditioning. I used to spray water at a fan and let the cold spray hit me in the face. Ahh, the good hot days.

    I have a chronic illness that’s mostly dealt with by medication (though doctors are basically useless for understanding it because it’s one of those diseases that affects females–so they really don’t make much of an effort and tell you a pill will cure you when quite the opposite is true). My thing affects hormones and causes other diseases that also affect hormones. Basically, this means I’m ever 100% comfortable temperature-wise except in like 60 degree weather. I have a hard time regulating my body temp. I’m very sensitive to extreme weather. My hands and feet are always freezing cold. I overheat easily. But luckily, I can sweat–and will, often–even if I’m cold. It’s weird. I suspect I had this illness even as a child and never knew it. It’s more of nuisance for me and CO’s schizo weather helped turn me into a woman of layers (the actual kind), so I’m always prepared. I also tend to burn instantly, so I avoid the sun. I’m with you on the PacNW.

    As a science geek, your thoughts on why saline might help sound right on to me–given what I know about membrane permeability and solutes. This is super interesting to me. I’ve always felt like cleanses (even though my liver is mostly healthy) always helped give me energy and affected my symptoms significantly. It may just be extra hydration and some vitamins/sugar, but whatever–it helps me. So I’ll keep doing it.

    🙂

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  10. Another well written article! I live in the Pacific Northwest and I find summer to be just right. It can get hot for short periods during July / August but most days there is a fresh breeze from the river. I don’t think I would do well away from the water as I am very heat intolerant.
    Thanks for sharing so much helpful information.
    regards,
    Mary Anne

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  11. Very informative! I used to love Summer and could spend all day at the beach. Now 15 minutes in the sun feels something like I would imagine torture feels like. Lately as the heat has risen I’ve been downright miserable and then yesterday I decided to try to just drink water after water after water. Today I feel an iota better but my mouth is always dry, always. So weird. I so enjoy reading your posts as they provide so much insight into this illness that I cannot get from doctors. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned along the way!

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