May 2020 has arrived, introducing warmer temperatures and beautiful days — the spring season, a great time to be outside. When it’s not raining, warmer temperatures and sunlight may increase serotonin and boost mental health. However, many neuropathy patients suffer severe consequences from the rising heat.
For example, some sensory nerve damage can cause patients to lose their senses of pain and temperature changes. This numbness can place patients at risk of contracting sunburn without being able to feel it. Other autonomic nerve symptoms may include heat intolerance and increased sweating. They may also have trouble swallowing due to esophageal nerve problems, which complicates hydration. These issues may make it difficult for patients to stay outside for long periods.
Patients looking to enjoy outdoor activities during the spring and summer months should consider doing so in a caregiver’s presence. The caregiver can act as a spotter and assist the patient with any issues that arise due to the interaction of peripheral neuropathy symptoms and warm weather.
Some practical ways in which caregivers and patients may better prepare for venturing outside during warm weather include keeping an ice pack handy, regulating medical treatment dosages, administering any topical treatments used to relieve and protect the skin, and managing the patient’s temperature.
Patients may ultimately be more attuned to their bodily reactions to heat than the guesswork of a caregiver. However, the presence of a caregiver offers the assistance and companionship needed to make the time more enjoyable. The mental health benefits that this companionship may provide may be a boon to the boost in serotonin offered by sunlight.
Caregivers and patients must still observe simple precautions such as wearing a mask when needed, preparing for outside temperatures, and dressing accordingly. When managed properly, the mental and physical benefits of sunlight and warm weather can improve quality of life for the patient.
Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
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