Summer, Sunburn and Salty Sweat

Summer is here!

The 21st June is Summer Solstice day, which means it’s time to drag the summer furniture out of the garage and stock up on the ice cream and ice lollies. But for people with Cystic Fibrosis, we have to stock up on thing in particular – salt tablets.

Salt tablets are CFer’s life saver during the summer months. Cystic Fibrosis affects the epithelial cells in the sweat glands, so when we sweat, the salt travels to the skin’s surface with the sweat and it isn’t reabsorbed, hence why we need to take salt tablets to replace the salt we have lost in sweat and to stop us from dehydrating.

So when people with CF perspire, we look like we’ve just dipped our heads in salt! We have that crystallised look on our faces during the summer, which is annoying but sadly normal for us.

I tend to flake out in the hot weather, I’ve never been able to handle the warm weather, even as a kid going onto the school playground, I used to just aim for the shaded parts.

My Mam always used to tell my teachers to make sure I drank loads and that I didn’t go absolutely bat shit crazy in regards to running on the yard just in case I felt ill afterwards. Back in school, my friends couldn’t understand why my face was covered in salt after playing outside in the scorching sun, I could never explain it.

During the summer months when I have clinic appointments, I usually get asked two questions –

  1. “Are you drinking plenty of fluids?”
  2. “Do you need salt tablets?”
Completely standard questions.

Here’s a few tips for people with CF (which you most probably know anyway!) to get through the summer:

Drink loads of water

Yes, drink plenty of fluids. You need to keep hydrated in the warmer weather as you’re sweating more which means you need to replace what you perspire during the day. I always make sure that I have a bottle of water with me wherever I go. I make sure that I have a bottle of water in the car with me and also in my bag. I always have a bottle handy during exercising on my treadmill at home or going to the gym. One thing I recommend buying is this Hydrate Mate water bottle which has markings on the bottle for hourly timings on how much you need to drink. Definitely a great buy if you’re like me – someone who forgets to drink during the day!

Salt Tablets

It wouldn’t be summer for people with CF if we didn’t see these in our medication box/cupboard, or in my case, dining table. Salt tablets are a great tablet for helping to replace the salt that we lose in our sweat during the warmer days. But if you can’t get salt tablets (like myself) just do the obvious thing – add salt to your food. It’s easy enough to sprinkle salt on our chips or eat the Salt ‘n’ Shake crisps. But salt tablets are the way to go.



Hay fever can be a nightmare in the Summer and even in the Spring. Stock up on the Piriton! It’s my wonder drug for when I’m on IV’s as it stops my skin from itching so much. But it’s also great for hay fever, ask the doctors to prescribe you some, it saves you a lot of money.

Sun Tan Lotion

People with CF need this more than ever in the summer. If you’re on Cipro, one of the main side effects is sensitive skin to the sun, so basically, if you don’t apply sun lotion to your skin, you’re going to look like the lobster out of Little Mermaid. And it will bloody hurt. SPF50 sun lotion is the best bet for stopping yourself from burning too much.

Enjoy It

Just enjoy summer! Cause after we have moaned about the hot weather, we’ll be moaning about the cold weather! So make the most of it and have fun!

So there you have it! A few tips to get you through the warm weather months.

What are your tips for keeping cool in the summer?

Comment below!

Lucy xx

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