Hot as Hades

My fiance has gotten into the habit of looking up the weather forecast on his super-duper telephone before we go to sleep. This is Arizona, ladies and gentlemen.  We have a low of 103 degrees with a high of 110 this week, unlike July 2 when we hit 118. 

The Irish Kidney Association posted this DaVita article on a really hot day. I was glad to learn something new from it (spraying your mouth with lemon water to keep yourself from drying out) and wondered if you might, too. 

If you do decide to get your daily 15 minutes of vitamin D via direct sun light, remmber to do it in the early morning, before the heat hits – especially if you live in a climate like mine.

Seven Summertime Precautions for People with Kidney Disease

There are certain precautions that everyone should take during the sunny and warm summer months. If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you’ll need to take a few additional steps to protect your health in the summertime or when visiting warmer climates.

1. Go outside and get moving

Sunny summer days are ideal for going outside and exercising. If you have kidney disease, be sure to check with your doctor  before starting a summertime exercise routine. Your physician can help you create an exercise plan that will support your health. Even if you feel tired at times, easy exercises may help you feel better. Walking and yoga are two activities that put only minimal stress on the body. To reap the benefits of having sunlight activate vitamin D in your skin, so spend 10-15 minutes in the sun before applying sunscreen.

2. Keep good fluid balance

Check with your dietitian or healthcare team for guidance about your fluid
intake and whether it should be adjusted on days that you spend more
time outdoors. Be careful of very cold beverages, which can cause stomach cramps. It’s best to avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol  or ingesting large amounts of sugar, as these can actually cause your body to lose more fluid. Try to stay cool by wearing a hat or a wet bandana around your neck to help control your thirst.[Gail’s note: When I was teaching high school in NYC, the kids had to take their Regents exams in hot and humidity. We all used the bandana trick.  Some of the students soaked their bandanas and kept them in the freezer overnight.  Now that was VERY effecitve.] You might want to
carry a small spray bottle filled with lemon water or mouthwash to spray
your mouth when you are feeling dry.

3. Save your skin from sun exposure

Everyone should wear sunscreen and apply it liberally. Unprotected sun exposure can cause skin damage. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Remember to reapply your sunscreen every two hours and also right after swimming or exercising. A water-resistant sunscreen will be less likely to come off if you swim or perspire. You can also protect your skin by covering up with a shirt, wearing a hat or sitting in the shade. You may want to soak up some sun before applying sunscreen to activate some of the vitamin D in your skin. Ten to 15 minutes is all it takes.

4. Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes in the same way that sunscreen protects your skin from harmful sun damage. Your sunglasses should block at least 99% of UVB rays and 50% of UVA rays. Wraparound sunglasses and other styles that completely cover the eyes are best.

5. Protect your access if you go swimming

If you are on dialysis and have a vascular access — whether it’s an AV fistula, a graft or a catheter — remember to cover it with a protective dressing when you swim. Ask your nurse which holds up best in water. For those with a central venous catheter (CVC), they should not submerge themselves and the CVC in the water at all. For people on peritoneal dialysis (PD), your healthcare team will show you how to properly clamp your PD catheter shut. The PD catheter should be immobilized to avoid trauma to or tension on the catheter while swimming. The dressing should be changed as soon as
you’re done with swimming. When going for a swim, do so in the ocean or a
chlorinated pool. Avoid bodies of water that aren’t chlorinated, such as ponds, lakes and rivers, which have a greater chance of hosting bacteria that can infect your access.

6. Eat healthy summer foods

Research shows that fruits and vegetables are important for good health, yet most people don’t eat enough. Summer is the perfect time to fill your plate with kidney-friendly foods that are low in phosphorus and potassium.
Remember to practice portion control as all fruits and vegetables contain some potassium. Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that can add color and flavor to your kidney diet:

Fruits Vegetables
Blackberries Carrots
Blueberries Cauliflower
Cherries Cucumber
Grapes Eggplant
Peaches Green beans
Plums Lettuce
Raspberries Onion
Strawberries Peppers (sweet and bell)
Watermelon (1 cup per day) Potatoes (leached)
  Snow peas
  Summer squash

Use these summertime ingredients to make delicious meals found at Try the following:

Fruit recipes Vegetable recipes
Ambrosia Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Blueberry-Peach Crisp Cucumber-Carrot Salad
Creamy Fruit Salad Eggplant Casserole
Quick Fruit Sorbet Grilled Summer Squash
Red, White and Blue Pie Picnic Potato Salad
Watermelon Summer Cooler Savory Green Beans

7. Plan your vacation to include dialysis

When you’re on dialysis you can still enjoy a summer vacation. To
accommodate treatments while you’re away, pre-planning is the key to a
successful trip. If you do in-center hemodialysis or home hemodialysis (HHD), ask your nurse or social worker how you can schedule treatments at a dialysis center close to where you’ll be staying. Home hemodialysis patients dialyzing with the NxStage System One can take their portable equipment with them and continue HHD while they’re on vacation if they prefer.

People on peritoneal dialysis can also take their equipment with them. Be sure to pack enough supplies to do your PD exchanges when you’re away. You can also work with your supplier to have dialysate delivered to your destination. Start planning at least three months before your trip, and ask fellow patients for any tips on the DaVita Discussion Forums.


By taking a common-sense approach to summer, you can enjoy long, warm
days while you support your kidney health. Taking a few summertime
precautions — protecting your skin, staying hydrated, controlling liquid
intake and planning a summer getaway — means you can have fun and
remain healthy.

If you can’t click through on the recipes, here’s the link to the original article:

While we aren’t up to dialysis yet, I wanted you to see that there are ways to enjoy the summer even when we get there.     

Say, it’s only 10 a.m.  Maybe you can still get your 15 minutes of sunlight n before it gets too hot.

Until Tuesday,

Keep living your life.


Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 10:26 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    • Hang in there, Stewart, and don’t be afraid to ask questions – especially of your nephrologist. Do you think you might want some help locating an online or physical support group? I only learned by myself because that’s my m.o. Yours might be different.

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