The summertime sunshine can be a welcome treat after a long winter, but it can also be dangerous. Many people with complex CHD have difficulty tolerating the summer heat. Here’s a reboot of what our community of families and patients shared with us about what they do to beat the heat during the hottest season.
1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Our bodies are made up of approximately 70 percent water. Water has many important functions in the body, including; regulating your body’s temperature, digesting food, and excreting waste. Children are at a greater risk of dehydration than adults. This is because in relation to their size, children have a larger proportion of their skin available to lose sweat and be exposed to heat. Additionally, children don’t always recognize that they’re thirsty, and if they’re not encouraged and reminded may forget to drink. Add Congenital Heart Disease into the equation and dehydration can pose an even greater risk.
Here are a few tips to help your kids stay hydrated in the summer sun:
- Pack a water bottle to have handy whenever you go out. You can even try having a couple of frozen water bottles in the freezer ready to grab and go!
- Encourage your child to drink water before, during, and after physical activity
- Always offer and encourage water with meals and snacks, even if they don’t like it!
Tricks for when your kids don’t like or just don’t want water
- Try adding slices of fruits such as lemon or orange to water, for variety and flavor.
- Let your kids choose their own cup or bottle to drink from.
- Be a role model! Make a point of drinking water with your kids.
- Experiment with ice cube trays; kids can have fun freezing water into a variety of shapes and adding those ice-cubes to their drinks. Check out these great choices: Under the Sea, Star Wars, Stars & Hearts!
Depending on where you live, summertime temperatures can average anywhere between “Oh boy, I’m starting to melt a little bit out here,” to “Someone dump a bucket of ice water on me right now.” The anticipation for the last bit of snow to melt and the warmth that summer brings can’t arrive fast enough but, for some, it can be the moment you began feeling bad about not wanting to leave the comfort of your cool home for the hot outdoors. But despite the pressure to get out and have fun in the sun, you shouldn’t feel bad about staying inside with your heart warrior on those hot days – especially when their causing your cardiac kid serious discomfort.
3. Enjoy a Cool Treat
What’s summertime without ice cream? Clearly we know why July, the peak of summer, is National Ice Cream Month. Whether you’re rolling through the Dairy Queen Drive-thru, passing out popsicles by the pool, or busting out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s after the kids go to bed there are a lot of sweet treats that seem to take the edge off of a hot day. We followed up our “how do you beat the heat” heart poll question by asking our followers what their favorite flavor of ice cream was and who knew there were so many different flavors of Ice cream out there!?
Here are the top 5 flavors heart warriors and their parents prefer:
#1 Mint Chocolate Chip
#3 Cookie Dough
#5 Moose Tracks
4. Take a Dip
Making a splash in the pool or at the beach (or relaxing on a raft) is at the top of just about everyone’s favorite summertime activity list! It’s a great way to stay cool, and get everyone out of the house. Though it’s important to keep in mind each of your swimmers’ strength and that harmful rays can still do damage, even in the water. Be sure to tote the waterproof sunscreen when you’re hitting the water!
5. Soak up the Summer
Some of us just love watching those temperatures rise, soaking up the sun, and feeling that warmth on our faces. It’s important to remember moderation, too much sun can make you sick too! Encourage your Heart Warriors to learn their own limits, while still having fun! Remember to take breaks, find a shaded area if you can’t go inside, plan your outing when the sun’s not at it’s hottest, use a cooling sport cloth, and drink plenty of water!
You’re not alone in looking for fun ways to beat the heat. Love it or loathe it, summer is sticking around, so whatever you do be safe and enjoy it!
*Please note the information in this post is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice.