Fun in the sun: how to stay comfortable in the summer

July 25, 2018 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

The dog days of summer are upon us and summer is far from over. As temperatures keep getting higher and the humidity continues to rise, going outside can become unbearable.

If you or a loved one are receiving treatment for cancer, it can be even more challenging to be comfortable outside, but you can still beat the heat by planning ahead. Here’s how:

  1. Protect your face. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head, neck and shoulders from the sun. Consider taking a small umbrella with you if you get stuck being outside without any shade.

  2. Look for sunglasses with UV protection. Choose sunglasses that block enough light and wrap around your face to provide additional protection from the sun’s rays. Read more on choosing the best sunglasses to protect your eyes.

  3. Keep your head cool. If you lost your hair and want to wear a headpiece, lightweight, synthetic scarves are more breathable than wigs because their open-cap construction allows air in and heat to escape.

  4. Limit time in the heat. If you need to be outside, drink plenty of cold water and sports drinks, and stay in the shade when possible.

  5. Dress for sun safety. When getting ready to head outdoors, consider color and cloth. Dark or bright colors absorb more UV than paler shades. Denser fabrics, like denim or canvas, are more protective than sheer or loosely worn clothing.

  6. Eat for heat. Eat foods with higher water concentration, like watermelon, berries, cucumbers, carrots or celery, to improve hydration. Stay nourished with small, frequent meals to boost your energy.

  7. Use sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using 1 ounce (a shot glass full) of sunscreen to cover your body. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside.

  8. Time it right. Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you’re dealing with treatment-related hot flashes and night sweats and the heat is making it worse, try to: 

  • Keep ice water nearby
  • Lower the room temperature
  • Sleep in cotton pajamas or put cotton sheets on your bed
  • Take a cool shower

You are your best advocate. If you ever feel hot and overheated, head inside and tell someone.

Treating cancer is a group effort. Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a variety of support services to help you through your cancer journey. Learn how we support you.

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