Healthy Living

Cystic Fibrosis: Summertime Tips

Replace lost salt

People with CF already know that when they sweat, they lose more salt (sodium chloride) that people without CF. However, in the hot summer months and during strenuous exercise, when people tend to sweat more, individuals with CF are at a greater risk for hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood).

The following are signs of hyponatremia:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Cramping

If you have hyponatremia, and have already consulted with your nutritionist or CF specialist, the following suggestions may help you:

  • Eat more salt. If you are low in salt or sweating badly, try to eat salty snacks and foods that are higher in salt. When exercising or extremely hot, you can add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of salt to your snacks, water, or sports drinks.
  • Adding extra salt to your diet on days where you know you will be in the heat or will be exercising can help prevent you from dehydrating. Snacks such as pretzels, crackers, noodle cups, chips, and pickles are great suggestions to help replace the salt that your body loses when sweating. Milk also has salt in it and chocolate milk can actually be healthy for you because it also has fat, protein, sodium, and carbohydrates. If your nutritionist approves, consider drinking chocolate milk along with a salty snack after every exercise routine.