With warmer weather around the corner, it’s time to turn our attention to hydration. People with cystic fibrosis lose more salt through their sweat than non-CFers and don’t tend to have the same thirst sensations. It’s very easy for them to get dehydrated during the warmer months, which can lead to stickier mucus in the lungs and cause constipation as well as the other common symptoms of dehydration: headaches, cramps, dizziness, and fatigue.
We’ve put together a list of tips to help keep you hydrated and your sodium levels up using information from Cystic Fibrosis Victoria, Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation, CF Chef, and Stanford Children’s Health.
Eat salty snacks.
Grab those pretzels, salted nuts, chips and put salt on your food (many CF health bloggers swear by Himalayan Pink salt rather than table salt).
Drink salty drinks after exercising.
Sports drinks, milk, and chocolate milk are all great to drink during the summer and especially after you work out to help you replace lost fluids and sodium. A pinch of salt added to water or fruit juice will help as well.
Consider salt tablets.
Speak to your doctor about salt tablets and whether you should be taking them.
Exercise when it’s cooler outside.
If you like exercising outside, then try to schedule your workouts in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. Swimming or exercising in air-conditioned gyms will help keep you cooler and less likely to dehydrate.
Carry a water bottle around with you.
You should be drinking around 2 liters of water each day (more if you’re sweating due to the heat or exercise). If you carry the water bottle around with you, you’ll be more inclined to take regular swigs. You don’t need to drink a lot of water all in one go, you may find it easier to drink little and often.
Tea, coffee, sodas, and alcohol will all make you lose even more fluid. If you drink any of these you will need to drink additional water to counter the effects.
Flavor your water.
If you find water a bit bland, flavor it with fruit such as berries, citrus fruits, pineapple, or add cucumber and mint for a refreshing summer drink.
Try coconut water and fruit juice.
Coconut water is a great drink to help avoid dehydration and is full of electrolytes. Natural fruit juices and smoothies are great for quenching thirst and adding calories, but try to stay clear of juices with added sugars.
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