There have been many studies on the correlation between cold weather and cancer. Many scientists and experts have been discussing this for some time. But one fact remains true for most cancer patients. Like almost everything else when you have cancer, it could be much harder and dangerous even if it were just a slight drop in temperature.
Cancer and Cold Weather
Cancer patients have a weaker immune system than a person without the affliction. This makes winter a harsher, more threatening environment for cancer patients, and makes them more susceptible to infections and other health risks.
So what should you watch out for during cold weather as a cancer patient?
Consult Your Physician for Possible Medication Interaction
Some cancer treatments make you more (or less) sensitive to cold, and both can prove to cause other complications for you. Your licensed care professional might tell you to avoid cold beverages, food or just a cold environment. This is because there are treatments that could make you have breathing difficulties when exposed to colder temperatures.
Avoiding the outdoors is almost always advised to cancer patients, but this can make them more likely to be depressed and lonely.
Other treatments might also numb your veins due to various changes in the atmosphere. This could prove to be dangerous since you would be highly susceptible to getting frostbite and hypothermia given the fact that you can’t feel your skin.
Some therapies, like radiation therapy, can cause your skin to be dehydrated and could be more prone to be dry, cracked, and itchy. The drop in humidity levels could easily amplify these effects.
Almost always associated with winter, the flu season usually runs from early October to March. Patients often get flu injections and not nasal sprays, since nasal sprays are not as effective. Cancer patients need maximum protection as their weak immune system cannot produce enough antibodies to counter viruses and bacteria.
Beware of Falls
There are cancer treatments that can numb arms and legs and some that make bones weak. During this season of snow and ice, cancer patients have a higher risk of falls and accidents. This may be indirectly caused by the treatment they are undergoing or even from cancer itself.
Taking extra precautions is a must during winter, especially if you are suffering from different ailments that could affect how your body normally functions.
- Exercise – Not going out can be a bummer. Do as much physical activity as you can indoors and get a Vitamin D prescription from your doctor.
- Prevent Infections – Always get your flu shots early around October or November to prepare yourself for the winter. Prevention includes avoiding contact with people who hadn’t had their shots yet. Maintain proper hygiene, wash hands, and take extra precautions with your food.
- Hydrate and Moisturize – Drink a lot of liquids and use approved skin products that could help keep it moisturized. When going out, bundle up and wear extra layers as a precaution to hypothermia, frostbite, and other possible complications that may arise.
- Go slow – If you need to go outside, take extra measures with your steps as anyone can easily suffer from a fall due to the cold and wet environment.