Cystic Fibrosis: Summertime Tips
Summertime is full of fun and excitement. Summer often means taking long vacations or engaging in outdoor physical activities, such as biking or hiking. For individuals with cystic fibrosis, exercising is an integral part of most treatment plans. By staying fit, the body is healthier and better able to fight off infection and clear out the airways that are blocked by mucus. Unfortunately, individuals with CF have to be extra careful during the summertime to remain healthy and active.
Summer is that time of the year when people usually go on vacation for periods of relaxation. It is associated with long breaks and fun outdoor activities. For those who suffer from cystic fibrosis, carrying out certain physical activities or exercises is an integral part of their life. It is often a part of their treatment since a fit body can better fight the disease in a more effective way, and it can also help to clear out the airways which become blocked due to the production of mucus. But during the summer season, individuals with CF have to be more careful. You should consult your CF care team since they are well aware of your personal details and those of this complex medical condition. You can consult with them on which activities are safe to carry out during the summer to avoid any emergencies.
For those who are in a vacation mood during the summer, it is important not to stray from one’s daily treatment plan. Try as much as possible to stick to a normal routine, even if you are away from home. Be sure to take all medicines in a timely manner. Do not skip the CPT sessions, or else it can lead to other health issues, which can abruptly stall your summer plans. Summer is also the time when the body loses a lot of fluids, especially if one is into physical activity. Try to stay hydrated at all times and do not let the body get dehydrated in the first place, since people with CF can become dehydrated quickly. Drink plenty of fluids, which can include water, juices, or herbal teas. During summers, you should increase your intake of these fluids more than on other days. Ideally, do not wait for the body to feel thirsty; try to drink in between intervals. Avoid drinks that are caffeinated, such black or green tea, soda, and coffee. These are diuretics, which can make you lose even more fluid rather than increasing your intake of it.
Those with CF are well aware that they lose a lot of salt when they sweat, but during the summer and after carrying out any physical activity, this tendency can increase, putting them at risk for hyponatremia, or low sodium in the blood. An individual may experience symptoms such as weakness in the muscles, cramps, headaches, and nausea. In such cases, be sure to consume more salt. Check with a nutritionist on what should be eaten so that the body does not lose out on its daily salt intake. Also, make sure to check which medications should be kept away from heat, which can be refrigerated, and which do not need any special instructions. The doctor can provide better guidance on this. You need to be extra careful when storing your medications, especially while travelling or if you are outdoors for longer periods of time. Medicines should never be exposed to direct sunlight.
Try to avoid areas that are high in pollution since the air in such places contains toxic chemicals that can cause serious breathing issues.