And in the blink of the eye, July is over and we’re heading closer to the darker evenings! However, whilst that is yet to come my horses and I have been enjoying the lovely lush weather summer is bringing. While I can confirm that I have been frantically routing to the back of my wardrobe to find my t-shirts and shorts so I don’t end up with a rider’s tan, I have also been contemplating what it will mean for me and my cystic fibrosis. In order to ensure I don’t sizzle like bacon out in the boiling sun, I make sure I follow this plan:
- Be prepared!
Not only am I armed with inhalers, I also plan to ensure that I am extra careful about remembering to take my doses along with any other nebulisers or breathing medication.
- Take it with more than a pinch of salt.
We all know that the sun causes sweat – and people with cystic fibrosis love to sweat – so I have also been frantically digging out the salt tablets which are usually only reserved for holidays abroad; to avoid any heat-induced cramps which can be common for people with cystic fibrosis. Eating huge amounts of crisps is what I am consistently doing when the sun comes out, due to their large amounts of salt content.
- Factor in more than sun cream.
As well as ensuring I have the obvious – lots of fresh water and a good dollop of sun cream – there are some other things that might not be quite so obvious. For example certain antibiotics that I take for my cystic fibrosis can cause photosensitivity – this could mean the difference between a glorious tan and a slightly less glamorous shade of beetroot.
- Go slow!
I will certainly be taking things at a slower pace and avoid over exerting myself, which means that sometimes the horses may have to have a day off or a really early ride. If I do end up riding in the hot sun, I can really only do 15 mins before I become a sweaty mess.
- Keep cool and don’t carry on.
Instead I will be remaining inside during the hottest hours of the day with my feet up (hopefully), windows open and a fan flowing to keep me as cool and as comfortable as possible. I will also keep all medications in the shade too – particularly digestive enzymes as the heat can apparently damage them and make them ineffective.
- Get fed up!
I also need to monitor my food intake – hot weather often means I lose my appetite so making sure I have snacks to hand or supplement drinks will help to ensure I’m still getting essential calories and that I keep my energy levels up.
- If in doubt, ask your CF team
Of course at the first sign of feeling unwell or breathing difficulty I do have my specialist CF team on speed dial, but I am hoping that by taking sufficient precautions I can avoid any drama and enjoy this great weather while it lasts!
- It’s not all about CF!
I need to make sure I don’t forget to carefully monitor other CF-related complications like CF-related diabetes, as the heat can affect my blood sugars so I need to monitor them regularly and keep hydrated. Also I will keep insulin out of direct sunlight and some handy snacks available to help keep my levels stable.
Anyway, back onto horses Benji and I decided to step up our game and enter another One Day Event, but this time the course was bigger, more technical and scarier! Thankfully we completed our most difficult course to date. I was a bit nervous as Tweseldown is quite a step up from Coombelands, but we kept it together, Benji was an absolute star and can’t believe how professional he was, keep forgetting he’s still young. Unfortunately Benji got scared by a trailer before our dressage test and went a bit tense but relaxed for 36.3. We then got 8 faults SJ (didn’t help that my hat slipped and I could only see through one eye, and then we had some green moments on xc. But I was so proud of how much we’ve improved since Coombelands, he makes me so proud. And the lungs held up very well, even better than last time! Huge thanks to my amazing support that is Mum, Elloise, and Yard gang you guys are out of this world.
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