As temperatures soar, Public Affairs Officer Lynsey Beswick presents her own guide to keeping cool with cystic fibrosis.
So the British summer has finally arrived. But with it the government has issued some important health warnings for those of us who may suffer with long-term health conditions.
So whilst I can confirm that I have been frantically routing to the back of my wardrobe to find my shortest shorts I have also been contemplating some of the advice and what it will mean for me and my cystic fibrosis.
Whilst the government have put together a heat wave plan I have been carefully considering my own CF-proof plan.
Not only am I armed with inhalers (in every handbag I own) I also plan to ensure that I am extra careful about remembering to take my doses along with any other nebulisers or breathing medication.
We all know that the sun causes sweat – and people with cystic fibrosis love to sweat – so I have also been frantically digging out the salt tablets which are usually only reserved for holidays abroad; to avoid any heat-induced cramps which can be common for people with cystic fibrosis.
I have also started to take an antihistamine to act as an anti-inflammatory and to help ensure that any allergies are kept at bay as this can also play havoc with my chest and make me feel worse.
As well as ensuring I have the obvious – lots of fresh water and a good dollop of sun cream – there are some other things that might not be quite so obvious. For example certain antibiotics that I take for my cystic fibrosis can cause photosensitivity – this could mean the difference between a glorious tan and a slightly less glamorous shade of beetroot.
I will certainly be taking things at a slower pace and avoid over exerting myself – a great excuse to get out of going for my evening run – that will have to wait until the weather is cooler I’m afraid!
Instead I will be remaining inside during the hottest hours of the day with my feet up (hopefully), windows open and a fan flowing to keep me as cool and as comfortable as possible. I will also keep all medications in the shade too – particularly digestive enzymes as the heat can apparently damage them and make them ineffective.
I also need to monitor my food intake – hot weather often means I lose my appetite so making sure I have snacks to hand or supplement drinks will help to ensure I’m still getting essential calories and that I keep my energy levels up.
As Lynsey suggests, if you do feel unwell it is important to contact your specialist CF team immediately.