Summer Time & Cystic Fibrosis
We all love summer and the holiday period but it can bring with it some challenges if you are living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) or caring for someone with CF. Below are a few summertime tips to help you manage the warmer weather.
Dehydration and Salt Replacement
As you know people with cystic fibrosis (CF) lose more salt in their sweat which increases the risk of dehydration during the summer months. Be prepared; ensure you have your salt supplements with you and extra water and fluids on hand. Speak to your CF dietitian or CF healthcare provider to ensure you are getting the correct amount of salt for your individual needs.
If you are exercising in the hot and humid weather dehydration can occur quite quickly. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, keep up your fluid intake by taking regular ‘fluid breaks’. Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee as these are diuretics and cause increased fluid loss. Try to exercise in the shade and in the cooler part of the day – early morning or in the evening.
Know the signs of dehydration which include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle weakness and muscle cramping.
Babies need extra fluids too. Infants get dehydrated more quickly than young children so keep them well hydrated and dressed in cool clothing. Ask your CF care team if supplements are needed for your baby during the summer months.
People with CF can have seasonal allergies just like everyone else. Allergies can exaggerate problems such as sneezing, congestion, or wheezing. Check in with your team about taking antihistamines to manage these allergies.
Sunscreen is an important part of your daily routine but particularly important during the summer months. Certain medications that you may take for your CF can also cause photo sensitivity. Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen and remember to reapply it every 2 hours, cover up, put on the sunglasses and slap on a hat.
You may lose your appetite in the hot weather so make sure you have snacks on hand or supplement drinks which will help you get those essential calories. Again, check in with your CF dietitian for ideas.
As you will know many medications are temperature sensitive so be mindful to keep all drugs at the recommended temperature. You may need to keep your medication in a cooler bag if you are out and about during the day. Enzymes should always be kept at room temperature which is generally 15 to 30 degrees Celsius, so don’t keep them in your car or in direct sunlight.