Tips for Handling Summer Weather During Treatment
Last updated: July 2023
Summer can be a time of sunshine, beautiful weather, and outdoor parties and BBQs! However, if you’re battling bladder cancer, the heat and humidity may have you dreading the summer season! People currently undergoing treatment may need to make special accommodations in the warmer weather.
People on chemotherapy treatment may experience a sensitivity to sunlight, which can increase the risk of sunburn. Some tips for dealing with the sun include:
- Dress for sun protection or stay in the shade. Light colored clothing and breathable fabrics work best
- If your hair has thinned due to treatment, be sure to wear a hat or apply sunscreen to exposed areas
- Use sunscreen and reapply as needed. If you are experiencing side effects, such as skin rash or irritation, as your doctor to recommend a sunscreen for sensitive skin
- Scars from surgeries are particularly sensitive to the sun. Make sure to apply sunscreen and reapply frequently on scars
The body relies on water to function properly. Bacteria also thrive in warmer weather, so it's important to drink enough fluid to flush out any bacteria in the urinary system and urinate frequently enough to compensate for the extra water you're drinking! Dehydration can let bacteria sit in the urinary system and lead to infection. Dehydration can also cause symptoms and make you feel more fatigued. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and needs immediate treatment. Some signs of dehydration can include:
- A dry, sticky mouth
- Dry skin
- Dark colored urine and less frequent urination
Tips to prevent dehydration
Drinking enough fluids can be daunting, but there are many ways to stay hydrated through eating, drinking, and taking appropriate precautions. Some tips include:
- Sip small amounts of water or fluids throughout the day
- If you feel too nauseated to drink and/or eat, suck on ice chips or popsicles
- Use a moisturizing lip balm or chap stick, to prevent or help ease dry, cracked lips
- Keep a bottle of water with you when traveling to ensure you can stay hydrated even through unexpected delays
- If you have diarrhea, try to drink beverages with sodium and potassium to help replace important minerals you may have lost
- Foods high in water can also help to hydrate! Try watermelon, salads with lettuce, or soups to help maintain hydration
Fatigue is one of the most disruptive cancer symptoms to day-to-day life. Heat and humidity can compound this symptom and cause people to feel extremely fatigued. Check out some things that may help to fight warm-weather fatigue:
- Rest often and listen to your body when you feel like you need a break
- Exercise is one way to help fight fatigue; however, you may consider limiting any outdoor exercise or exercise in the heat
- Try to limit time in the sun. Stay in air-conditioned spaces, when possible
- Stay hydrated and eat nutritious meals when possible. This will help keep your energy levels up!
Talk with your healthcare team and make note of symptoms that require immediate attention. It’s important that you and your loved ones know which emergency symptoms to look out for!
Has cancer impacted your mood during the holidays?