Many women between the ages of 40 and 55 are in a period of perimenopause, and if you’re among this group, it’s possible that you may experience hot flashes.

During perimenopause, a woman’s estrogen level rises and falls dramatically, and these fluctuations may cause a number of symptoms. One of the most common is the hot flash. According to the Mayo Clinic, a hot flash is a sudden feeling of intense warmth, at times causing reddening of the skin and sweating.

The period of perimenopause can last up to 10 years, and for many women, much of this time may be spent in the workplace. In order to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes while at work, it may be helpful to know a few tricks.

One of the first lines of defense against hot flashes at work is proper attire. Avoid wool, silk, and most synthetic fabrics. These materials trap heat and can increase your body temperature. Clothes made of cotton, linen, or rayon “breathe” better, release heat, and help keep you cooler.

Also, it’s usually best to avoid turtlenecks. Instead, try to dress in layers. That way, when your body temperature starts to rise, you can remove layers to help cool yourself down. Since cold chills often follow a hot flash, you can easily put the layers back on to warm yourself up again.

The simplest way to lower room temperature is to lower the thermostat. However, this isn’t always possible. If you work at a desk, you might consider bringing in a small fan. A fan not only helps cool you down, it also circulates the air in the room.

If you’re lucky enough to work near a window, open it a crack to let some cool, fresh air inside.

What you eat and drink can play a big role in your core body temperature. Hot and spicy foods increase body temperature and may exacerbate hot flashes. Try avoiding spicy meals and allowing hot foods to cool down considerably before you eat them.

Additionally, when you’re at work and don’t have full control over the room temperature, it will help to eat cold foods. Choose salads, sandwiches, or cold pastas. These options will still fill you up without increasing your body temperature.

It’s also wise to choose your beverages carefully. While it may be tempting to start your workday with a hot cup of coffee, try iced coffee or sip on ice water instead.

You can actually use cold drinks to your advantage in two ways. Sipping on a cold beverage throughout the day can help cool you down, and you can also place the cold cup or glass against your forehead or your neck.

Give yourself adequate time to get to work and to meetings. The stress of rushing around can raise your body temperature and trigger a hot flash. When you have adequate time, you’re better able to remain at ease, which can help reduce the frequency of hot flashes.

The takeaway

Hot flashes are a symptom of perimenopause for many women. The best way to deal with them at work is to plan in advance for your comfort and to take preventative steps to reduce the severity of your hot flashes.

Following a diet and health routine that can reduce the strength and frequency of hot flashes are great preventative measures, but it’s also important to have special strategies. Having items on hand and practicing routines that help cool you down will greatly reduce the stress or discomfort associated with hot flashes at work.