When I was growing up, one of the things I learned said, “Whether the weather is cold or whether the weather is hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather; whether we like it or not!” Essentially, this is the reality about life. You can’t change the weather, and unless you live in a climate that stays relatively consistent temperature, you’re going to have to find ways to deal with it.
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’re well aware that I was born with Sickle Cell Anemia. Weather extremes are one of the most difficult things we have to face because weather that is too cold can wreak havoc on the blood system, and weather that is too hot can escalate the risk for heart problems, difficulty breathing, and even stroke. With World Sickle Cell Awareness Day taking place this Friday, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few tips for fellow Sickle Cell Warriors who either have Sickle Cell or know of one that may be facing extreme heat this week and this summer. Below are my best ideas for beating the heat:
- Water: This tip is twofold. It’s always essential to drink plenty of fluids because staying hydrated helps with blood flow and helps with oxygenation of the blood, which is helpful on hot days no matter if you’re inside or outside. The other things is that water, whether you’re drinking it or swimming in it will help to keep your body core temp cool. If you’re prone to nosebleeds or get overheated frequently during the summer, a cool mist, shower or swim can be just the thing if you are an active person. (Remember: If you diet consist of sodium, caffeine, and alcohol you’re daily requirement of water intake increases exponentially because it will take that much more to offset the effects they have on the body.)
- Get Some Place Cool: Whether you work or not, odds are that you are going to have to venture outdoors on occasion. Minimize your exposure to extreme climate changes. If you love to be outdoors, plan your outings so that you’re always near somewhere that can provide an escape from direct sunlight and heat so you reduce your chance for heat exhaustion. The mall, the library, and even a movie theater can be great places to stay cool, while still giving you an opportunity to be social.
- Cool Eats and Drinks: Summertime is always a great time to partake of great treats like snowballs, slushies, ice cream and other cool drinks. It’s also a great time to have a salad, fresh fruits and vegetables. Minimize fried foods and keep your kitchen cool too.
- Cooler Heads Prevail: Another twofold tip here. Knowing that you have to go outside on occasion, covering your head is an optimum idea for remaining cool and minimizing the potential for heat stroke. The other side to this is to keep a level head. Your temper can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure making it dangerous as well during seasons of elevated temperatures.
- Lightweight and light colored wear: While layering is best for winter wear, wearing light colors and reducing layers will keep you cool and give your skin the freedom to breathe.
Summer doesn’t have to be unbearable. Make the most of these hot days, cherish the cool ones, and enjoy it all like a pro by finding your own best practices.
QUESTION: What are your best tips for beating the summer heat?
- Sickle cell anemia patient cured thanks to her little sister (7online.com)
- Sickle Cell Anemia Cure Foreseeable After Scientists Use Gene-Editing To Revert Hemoglobin Back To Neonatal State (medicaldaily.com)
- Sickle Cell Disease Remains Serious Concern for African Americans (afro.com)