Tips to stay cool during hot weather

Warm summer days are great, but sometimes those days can get a bit too warm! When you are on dialysis and trying to keep your fluid gains to 2 kilograms between treatments, hot days can be a challenge. Though warm days can make you feel dehydrated and thirsty, drinking more fluid is not the best way to stay cool — doing so can push you over your recommended daily fluid allowance and cause complications.

To keep cool, check out these ideas that might work for you: 

  • Salt makes you thirsty. To help control your thirst, limit salty foods you eat.
  • Use frozen treats like Popsicles and ice cream to cut the amount you drink.
  • Try drinking cold liquids instead of hot ones.
  • Snack on low-potassium vegetables and fruits that are ice cold, like chilled sliced pears, apples, grapes or strawberries.
  • Try freezing berries or grapes for a cold, refreshing snack.
  • Sip your beverages slowly. Sipping will let you savor the liquid longer.
  • Use small cups or glasses for your beverages.
  • Freeze your allowed water in an ice cube tray.
  • Freeze Kool-Aid or grape, apple or cranberry juice in an ice cube tray.
  • Try swallowing pills with cold applesauce instead of a liquid.
  • If you enjoy swimming (and don’t have a catheter), find a wading pool, swimming pool or lake to cool down in.
  • Wet and freeze washcloths to put on your neck to keep you cool.
  • Place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to help cool the air.
  • Go somewhere with air conditioning — a church, restaurant, mall, grocery store, community center or movie theater.
  • Try running cold water over your wrists. If your dialysis access is in your arm, run the water over your forearms for a few minutes.
  • Soak a bandana or gel-filled neck cooler in water and drape it around your neck.
  • Take a cool shower and be sure to get your hair wet. You lose 10 percent of your heat through your head. Keeping your hair wet will act like an air conditioner.
  • Wear a hat when you have to go out in the sun.
  • Wear loose and light cotton clothing. 

Because most dialysis patients don’t urinate, you are usually not in danger of dehydration during hot spells, especially if you eat and drink normally. During hot weather, staying inside and keeping cool is a good way to avoid serious heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Questions? Call the Northwest Kidney Centers nutrition services department at 206-720-3990.