“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at the time of challenge and pain.”: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Winter and cancer don’t mix.. When the weather turns very cold, cancer patients can face some challenges.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are vulnerable to infections when their white blood cell count is low, leading to the possibility of facing various problems like Hypothermia and Frostbite. Both these conditions are the result of cold temperatures.
When the body loses heat, Hypothermia arrives
Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it produces. This rapid loss of body heat dangerously lowers your body temperature. For cancer patients, some medications and chemotherapy sessions can interfere with the body’s ability to adjust its temperature. This can lead to dehydration and thereby cause Hypothermia.
When the body is exposed to extreme cold, Frostbite attacks
When the skin is exposed to extremely chilly weather conditions, the muscle tissues can freeze, causing frostbite. Sometimes chemotherapy can cause a condition called Peripheral Neuropathy that decreases sensation in the hands and feet. This condition can make it difficult to feel how cold it actually is and thereby put patients at risk for frostbite.
Tips for cancer patients during a harsh winter
- Dress yourself up in warm layers. Use a muffler or a scarf to cover your nose and mouth before you step out to avoid breathing problems.
- Wear hats to cover your hair, and heavy gloves to protect your hands and fingers.
- Wear comfortable shoes with good grip instead of slippers or sandals, and take extra care while stepping out of your house.
- Get yourself a flu shot. It can help you protect against the flu.
- Keep yourself thoroughly hydrated. Drink warm filtered water and avoid taking caffeine.
If you are a cancer patient, it makes sense to take extra care during winters. During this time, you are all the more sensitive and vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions. So when the weather outside is against you, fight back by staying informed and prepared.