Summer is nearly here and so are warmer temps. One might think that it's easier to stay healthy when it's hot outside but it's important to still be cautious. Here are tips:
- Air out your home! After a winter of closed doors and stagnant air, let fresh air inside. Open windows and doors. Clean and dust. Wash your sheets, comforters and linens. For an added pick-me-up, add some fresh candles or essential oils to make your house smell delicious.
Use sunscreen at all times. Many medications leave one especially sun sensitive. Never leave home without applying sunscreen. Don’t forget about your ears, lips, and the tops of your feet!
- Consider getting screened for skin cancer. As if we myeloma survivors and caregivers don't already have enough to worry about. The screening is painless and takes just a few minutes.
- Make sure to wear a hat, turban or head protection. Burned scalps are painful and dangerous.
- Wear good sunglasses when you're outdoors.
- Always wear shoes. Chances are you’ve got some neuropathy and you may not feel things that you’re stepping on. Plus, it’s imperative to keep your body clean, including the bottoms of your feet. Keep flip flops, slippers or socks with you at all times. If you're walking outdoors, it's best to wear shoes with good protection, like sneakers or sandals that have solid support and good soles.
- Practice good hygiene always. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your mouth, eyes, and ears.
- If you're camping our out at a beach or pool, never go barefoot.
- Be very weary of public pools and hot tubs. They are a breeding ground for germs. In fact, you may want to consider avoiding them completely. Discuss with your doctor.
Get plenty of rest. Our bodies heal and repair while we are sleeping so make sure you’re getting adequate slumber.
Get fresh air and move! As much as possible, exercise. Many doctors suggest at least 30 minutes a day. Try to take a walk outdoors (maybe in early morning or evening when it’s not as hot and the sun not as strong), work in the yard– anything that gets your heart rate up. Plus, fresh vitamin D is good. Don’t forget to wear good shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!
Eat healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies (if you’re not neutropenic!) are great options and many have incredible anti-cancer benefits. If you are neutropenic, make sure you understand your dietary restrictions before eating anything.
Have fun! If possible, take a vacation, whether it be big or small. We all need to have healthy distractions from doctor appointments, medications, and dietary restrictions. Get lost in a great book, watch a good movie, or explore a new part of town.
- Consider carrying an umbrella with you to protect your from the sun.
- Stay properly hydrated. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. Limit soda or don't drink it at all. If you're getting tired of water, add fresh lemon or lime. Ice Tea is also a great choice.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.