By Abbie Cornett
Summer time means warm days in the sun, backyard barbeques, swimming and getting together with friends and family. While this sounds great, it is important to remember that people with chronic conditions need to do more than put on sunscreen and drink water to protect themselves during sun-filled days.
Many chronic conditions can be exacerbated by sun and heat. Even normal activities such as going to the store or taking a walk can pose a significant risk to health. However, this doesn't mean you need to hibernate indoors during the summer months, unless you want to. This only means you need to find ways to prevent excessive exposure to heat and sun.
The first step in enjoying your summer without getting sick is to understand how the sun and heat can affect your health. A good place to start is with your doctor or pharmacist. They can go over the specifics of your medication and how the heat can affect you.
Besides knowing how the heat can effect you, it is important to understand your hydration needs. Dehydration can affect your body's ability to regulate temperature and should be prevented. If you are worried you are not drinking enough, keep track of how many ounces of fluid you are consuming. A general rule is if you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
The Mayo Clinic has a simple formula you can use: 1
- Take your weight (in pounds) and divide it by 2.2.
- Multiple that number by your age.
- Divide that sum by 28.3.
- Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink each day.
- Divide that number by eight to see your results in cups.
Knowing how your illness is affected by heat and hydration is only part of the solution. Knowing yourself is the next part. This means you need to recognize your limits! You can't judge yourself based on what you should and shouldn't be able to do. Therefore, you may need to adjust your schedule to do activities like walking or gardening in the early morning or after dark, and recognize your body's limits.
Having a chronic illness doesn't mean you can't enjoy summer. With a little research and a lot of water, a summer of fun awaits you!
1 Blake, I. How Much Water You Should Really Drink in a Day. Daily Mail, June 19, 2017. Accessed at www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-4617270/How-water-REALLY-drink-day-revealed.html