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5 Ways to Prevent a Sickle Cell Crisis in the Summer

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Summer is upon us, a nice break from the long winter months. A few days ago, it was almost 40 degrees Celsius here in Calgary. The house was so hot my floors were burning! I was not too fond of the heat and was worried about getting severely dehydrated, which could easily lead to a sickle cell crisis. Extreme weather, whether hot or cold, is not suitable for us. Fortunately for me, my basement is pretty cool, so I can spend those nights when the heat is unbearable in my basement. But what about being outside and managing dehydration when I need to go to work? Read on to find out what helps me.

 For a sickle cell patient especially, water is life as dehydration could easily lead to sickling. There are many benefits of staying hydrated, that is, having a good amount of water in the body. Hydration helps improve your mental and physical performance, improves temperature regulation, cardiovascular health, energy levels, digestion and a lot of other things.

Not having enough water in the body could have devastating consequences, including sickle crises and even death.

So, how do we ensure that we stay hydrated at all times?

1. Don’t get thirsty before drinking water

It is healthy to drink water daily. As a habit, you should drink a glass of water every morning before you step out. While plain water can be boring at times, you can add flavours to your water to make your drinking “interesting.” You don’t have to wait till you are all very thirsty before drinking water. That you’re thirsty is already a sign that you’re dehydrated.

2. Include water-rich food in your diets

Vegetables, fruits, watermelons, radishes, tomatoes etc., are foods that have very high water content. Constant consumption of water-rich foods is a guarantee that you would always stay hydrated.

3. Avoid staying out in the sun

As much as you can stay indoors on scorching days. Do not wear black clothes on such days, as black clothes tend to absorb heat. Stay in a fully air-conditioned room. You can walk down to centres with air-conditioning if you can’t afford one. If you must go outside, make sure you use an umbrella and don’t wear thick clothes.

4. Dress for the weather

Wear light and loose-fitting clothes that allows enough air into your skin. As earlier said, avoid black and dark clothes as they readily absorb heat. A sunshade to protect your eyes and a large wide-brimmed hat to keep your head and shoulders covered would go a long way to keep you hydrated. Use a lot of sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Be as light as possible. Avoid carrying big bags and backpacks, as these can cause excess sweating.

5.  Identify signs of dehydration

Be on the lookout for the signs of dehydration:

• Bad breadth

• Muscle cramps

• Fever or chills

• Fast heartbeat

• Irritability

• Not urinating despite steadily drinking water

• Darker-than-usual urine

• Fatigue

• Dry mouth/skin

• Drowsiness

• Feeling thirsty

• Dark yellow and strong-smelling urine

• Dizziness or light-headedness

Dehydration can often occur when one is suffering from specific ailments such as;

• Diabetes

• Diarrhoea

• Heatstroke

• Over-sweating

• Diuresis

When you experience these symptoms or if you have any of these ailments, it is a sign that you might be losing too much fluid, and you need to get back the sugar and minerals that you have lost.

Try out a pharmacist for proper medication on rehydration sachets that you can add to your water. Your pharmacist should be able to prescribe the proper medications suitable for you or your kids.

I have challenges drinking plain water, so I make sure to stay hydrated by adding flavour to my water, such as lemon or mint leaves, taking soups or fruit and vegetable juices. However, I tend to take more vegetable than fruit juice due to the high sugar contents of fruits…

My doctor told me I need to take about a gallon of water daily. I don’t take that much, but I aim for at least two litres daily. Water is life to us, so whatever you do, drink as much as you can.

Making herbal teas as mint leaves boiled with ginger, lemongrass, pineapple peels, or hibiscus tea is one of my favourite ways to stay hydrated. No sugar added! Drink it hot in the cold winter months or chill to make a cold refreshing summer drink. I can quickly drink two litres of this daily.

How do you stay hydrated and make sure you consume a sufficient amount of water daily?

Please share with me as I am constantly looking for ways to improve my daily water intake.

 

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Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

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