In a few hours I’ll be off to my dialysis treatment. I’m already planning in advance how I would conduct my travel from our house in Manila, to the clinic in Quezon City. It’s only about 30 minutes away from our home, that’s if you have your own car, which I don’t. I take public transports (Jeepneys) and it takes 3 transfers before getting to the clinic. It’s tedious for patients like me, but there’s no getting around it, and besides, it’s a lot cheaper than taking a cab.
But it’s not the travel that bothers me. It’s the heat. You can’t hide from it whenever your outside, and even when you’re in the shade, you still can palpably feel the heat. It’s summer here in the Philippines, and to make matters worse, we’re currently under the El Niño Phenomenon. I have posted before on this blog the effects of summer and heat on dialysis patients . Today I reiterate it once again that excessive heat and humidity has a significant impact on dialysis patients.
We find it hard to tolerate the heat simply because we have a higher body temperature than normal people.
Mean oral temperature in hemodialysis patients was higher than in healthy individuals [98.7 degrees F (37 degrees C) vs. 98.4 degrees F (36.8 degrees C); p < 0.001], as was the mean average axillary temperature [97.7 degrees F (36.5 degrees C) vs. 97.5 degrees F (36.3 degrees C); p = 0.02] and mean left axillary temperature [97.9 degrees F (36.6 degrees C) vs. 97.6 degrees F (36.4 degrees C); p < 0.001].
And, if bad comes to worse, when our tolerance for heat comes to an end, the first thing that comes to mind is to beat the heat – that is, to drink water to quench our thirst and alleviate the heat we’re experiencing. It’s all good and well, drinking lots of water to rehydrate oneself and avoid the dangers and perils of dehydration or heat stroke. But for us with malfunctioning kidneys, drinking too much water tells a different story and would be quite dangerous at some point.
But don’t despair my fellow patients. There are lots of ways we could tolerate excessive heat and avoid the dangers that comes with it. Here are some that helps me survive the day, and I hope would be helpful to you too.
Stay in the shade and stay away from direct sunlight, especially from 10 am – 3 pm, where it’s the hottest part of the day. If you’re not working and don’t have anything important to do outdoors, it would be best to just stay in the house.
If you really have to go outside on the hottest part of the day, bring adequate protection from the sun, like an umbrella or sun shade. Also, don’t forget your towels or an extra piece of clothing, as you might need it.
If you’re quite thirsty and finding it hard to regulate your fluid intake, go ahead – drink some water. But remember, sip and don’t gulp. But if your fluid intake is really ‘that’ restricted, try sucking on an ice cube, or some sour fruit like lime or calamansi, or brush your teeth to freshen up your mouth. It somewhat relieves your thirst.
These are some tips that worked for me and I hope would be helpful to you too, although every person is unique and has different needs. Summer time is somewhat of a punishment for us patients, but there’s no getting around it. So what can we do?
If you can’t beat ‘em… try to enjoy ‘em! A wonderful summer to you all!