Moving forward with the ‘new normal’ created in response to COVID-19 does not mean life completely needs to change for cancer patients. While patients will need to be alert and cautious about summer gatherings, some of the best summer activities may remain safe if you take the necessary precautions.
Over the past few months, many parts of America shut down to protect the health of its citizens. While health is always a priority, the long months stuck at home have made nearly every American crave summer fun that much more. With the first official day of summer arriving on the 21st of June, summer celebrations are not far behind. Despite the sheer excitement for warm weather and social gatherings, it is more important than ever that cancer patients take extra precautions during summer shindigs.
With a compromised immune system, cancer patients and survivors continue to be at an increased risk of the dreaded COVID-19 virus. While some states have returned to normal or are in the process of returning to normal, the threat of this virus remains eminent. Regardless of state guidelines, cancer patients, cancer survivors, and those in close contact with patients and survivors should continue to follow social distancing guidelines. While these guidelines may infringe on beloved summer traditions, such as major barbeques or special vacations, there may be some ways to enjoy the season—if you take proper precautions.
- Enjoy nature
Summer is a beautiful time of year no matter where in the world one may be. Taking a walk in the warm sunshine or strapping on some hiking boots are sure to not only burn some calories, but to boost one’s mood as well! Of course, before heading into the sun, it is always important to generously apply sunscreen. And walk or hike with only members of your family to avoid possible contagion from strangers.
- Hit the beach
Social distancing does not need to mean self-isolation. The beach remains a viable option for cancer patients hoping to enjoy the summer time. However, it is generally advised that cancer patients stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm when the sun is the strongest. And make sure to properly social distance—go early before crowds arrive or enjoy the later afternoon when crowds begin to thin. If it is not possible to social distance, abandon your beach day plans.
- Hit the road
Roll the windows down, take in the fresh air and explore! Short, single day road trips are a great way to get outside and explore. By using your own vehicle, you can keep yourself protected and determine your own itinerary. Research nearby must-see spots, you may be surprised by the amount of things to explore right in your own backyard. Consider packing your own lunch and picnicking at one of your spots!
- Get into gardening
Is there anything more satisfying than nurturing a plant to full bloom or growing your own food? Gardening is a great opportunity to get amongst nature, learn new skills, and have something to show for months of work. Time flies in the garden, so it is important to take a water bottle along for long days of weeding and planting. Many people are regularly dehydrated, which can negatively impact health; cancer patients are especially susceptible to dehydration. Side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea can increase one’s chances of becoming dangerously dehydrated.
- Learn to fish
Whether a fishing novice or an experienced fisherman, this beloved summer hobby not only puts food on the table but is also a way to relax in nature. If fishing for food, remember that fish needs to be properly cooked. Cancer therapies often make patients more susceptible to food poisoning and, if there is one way to ruin summer fun, it’s food poisoning.
Please remember that it’s important for individuals to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the coronavirus, including federal, state and local restrictions and health organization recommendations and guidelines. As a helpful tool, the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center, with weekly updates to keep you informed, prepared and protected.
As restrictions begin to loosen in many parts of the country, it’ll be up to you to determine what’s safe for you and your family, but NFCR will be here to support you along the way.
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