The Fourth of July is a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family while enjoying a long summer day. However, it can also mean dodging soaring temperatures and sweltering heat. Hot weather can be a challenge for everyone, but beating the heat can be especially difficult if you’re living with cancer.
There is no reason to avoid a family picnic or BBQ on the Fourth of July, just take a few extra precautions to make sure you stay healthy throughout the fun. The suggestions below aren’t just for those who are currently going through treatment, as they can apply to anyone who will be spending a hot summer day outside tomorrow.
1. Stay Out of the Sun – It’s almost impossible – and frankly no fun – to avoid the sun altogether, but keep your exposure to a minimum. For those going through treatment, too much sun can be unsafe. If you are receiving chemo, it could further weaken your immune system, or increase the likelihood of sunburns. Radiation therapy can make your skin more sensitive to the sun's harsh rays. Bring your own umbrella if you’re worried there won’t be enough shade.
2. Wear Sunscreen – This goes for everyone. If you’re going to be out in the sun, wear sunscreen! Be sure to slather it on every part of skin that is exposed. Experts recommend a shot glass-portion of sunscreen to cover your whole body.
3. Avoid Exerting Yourself – Exercise is always recommended for those living with cancer and survivors alike, but keep your workouts light when it’s hot outside. Save the more strenuous activities for when the weather cools down. Opt for the bus or a ride instead of walking long distances in the hot sun.
4. Stay Hydrated – Dehydration is an issue for anyone when it’s hot outside, but the side effects that may come from cancer treatment can be trouble. Some people experience vomiting and diarrhea after treatment, which means staying hydrated is even more important. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Snacking on fruits and veggies can also help you stay hydrated.
5. Wear Light Colors and Loose Clothing – Light colors and looser clothing can help you stay cooler when you’re out in the heat.
6. Stick With a Buddy – A hot summer day is not the time to wander off on your own. If you're not feeling well, it’s nice to have someone around in case help is necessary.
7. Pay Attention to What You’re Feeling – Know the symptoms and signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, so you can act fast. Learn more about the symptoms and signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
If you're currently going through treatment, you might have to make a few adjustments this summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and celebrate! Just be cautious and plan ahead, then relax and enjoy the day.
See more tips on staying cool in the summer months, and have a happy Fourth of July!