7 Rules of Summer for Dialysis Patients
It’s that time of year when road trips, camping, a day at the beach, and vacations are at the top of your to-do list. A little rest and relaxation is a good thing to help reduce stress, reconnect with family and friends, and enjoy a break from the day-to-day.
But when you have kidney disease, there’s a few things you should do to make sure you have an epic summer.
1. Plan ahead
If you’re planning to take a dream vacation, cross country road trip, or just get out of town for a week, you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure dialysis treatments fit in with the rest of your itinerary. Find clinics along the way where you can get treatment. Or bring along the necessary supplies and equipment for home hemodialysis.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
You don’t have to look far to find fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer months. It’s harvest time for favorites like blueberries, cucumbers, watermelon, onions, cherries, peas, and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. Enjoy the harvest, but be sure to keep tabs on how much potassium you’re getting.
You’ll find many summer season vegetables on our Dialysis-Friendly menu with main course meals like:
- Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, Lentils with Onion & Garlic, Vegetable Blend
- Egg, Waffle, & Sausage with Sweet Potatoes & Cinnamon Apples
- Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans - Individual Meal
- And many others
3. Swim with care
If your summer vacation includes plans to go swimming, you’ve got to protect your access point for dialysis treatments. It’s critical to prevent infection and protect your health. Talk to your heathcare team about how to cover, clamp, and dress your access point to keep out bacteria. And if you are going to swim, stick with the ocean or swimming pool, instead of freshwater ponds, lakes and rivers, where bacteria is more common.
4. Protect your vision
Squinting doesn’t protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or ball cap can help. But if you’re going to be out in the sun for longer than a few minutes, wear sunglasses that block out ultraviolet light to shield your eyes. Read before you buy...many sunglasses include details about the type of UV protection they provide.
5. Use sunscreen
Don’t work on your tan. It’s not worth the risk. An estimated 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in the U.S. every year. And about 90 percent of those cases are caused by too much sun exposure. If you’re going to be outside, lather up with sunblock with a SPF (sun protection factor) rating of 15 or higher. Wearing loose fitting clothing, long sleeves, pants, and wide-brimmed hat can help too.
6. Drink up
When you have kidney disease and you’re receiving dialysis treatments, you have to pay attention to how much fluid you’re drinking. But during the summer months, especially if you’re active, you may need more than usual. Talk to your healthcare team about how much fluid is OK for you to drink.
7. Sit less, move more
Summer is a great time to get outside and be more active. Go for a walk. Take a hike. Try yoga. You don’t have to run a marathon or climb a mountain. A little exercise will improve your health and your mood.