A refreshing dip in the water

Water attracts people of all ages and physical conditions, especially during the summer. This shouldn’t be surprising: “water is the driving force of all nature”, as Leonardo da Vinci described it. Here are some suggestions for you on how to cool down in the water – and a few recommendations that you should also take into account as a dialysis patient.

What level of exercise do you prefer?

Do you like to get in the water and enjoy that almost weightless feeling? Then you might like to give water aerobics a try. Most holiday resorts and public swimming pools offer regular water aerobics courses. The music lifts your mood, while you burn some calories and do your cardiovascular system a favour - and it is all the more enjoyable if the sun is shining. A superb combination! Do remember to bring a lightweight shirt with you, though, to prevent you from getting sunburn on your arms and shoulders.

If you enjoy that weightless feeling, you might also like snorkelling, another recreational way of enjoying the water. Snorkelling has a great appeal to people of all ages, especially at tropical resort locations, as the opportunity to see life under water in a natural setting is special. There is a lot to be said for watching the world below the surface of the water without the hassle of the equipment or the training necessary for scuba diving. However, you’ll still need to make some preparations beyond bringing your swimsuit or swimming trunks. A pair of flippers, a diving mask and the snorkel are the key requirements for enjoying this fascinating experience.

Would you prefer not to take to the water quite so literally? Kneipp activities are a huge pleasure, too. Strolling or walking in cold water up to your calves or knees helps you to cool down during hot spells.

You don’t have to get in!

Just visiting the waterfront can be lots of fun. Many waterside activities involve extended timeframes. We aren’t just thinking about fishing here, although its devotees will swear that there is no better way of spending time at or by the water. But diving in the water for a cool-down won’t bode well with the fish – or their devotees!

Canoeing is a very relaxing activity. Whether it’s touring, camping or for general recreation, the bliss of gliding over the surface of the water in a canoe with few movements of your own is indescribable. Just you, perhaps your fellow paddlers, and the surrounding nature. And canoeing is something you can do at your own pace. Enjoy your peaceful surroundings and the great outdoors. Just don’t forget your hat for protection from the sun.

Last but not least, here is a very simple summer treat that has been tried and tested by both young and old: take an ice cube and allow it to slowly melt in your hand or on your body. Oh, the joy of those cooling droplets running down your skin…

So go for it: enjoy and refresh yourself.

Please note the following recommendations if you decide to get in the water:

  • If you have a catheter (tunnelled or not), you shouldn’t participate in water sports or swimming. Getting the catheter wet will increase your risk of infection.
  • Patients with any type of vascular access should avoid swimming in lakes, rivers or non-chlorinated pools as well as taking hot baths.
  • If you have a fistula or a graft, you should only participate in water sports with a completely healed vascular access. If in doubt, please consult your healthcare team.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures and quick changes between hot and cold, as differences in temperature can quickly cause your vessels to dilate or constrict and change the blood flow in your fistula/graft.
  • You’ll also want to avoid making strenuous use of the arm used for vascular access, for example, using a paddle when going canoeing. Just go easy!
  • If you have a peritoneal catheter you should ask your physician about your planned activities. Most physicians discourage swimming, although some allow swimming in the sea or a very chlorinated private pool for patients with special exit site dressing.
  • Your peritoneal catheter exit site must be fully healed before you can swim.
  • Change into dry clothes after going swimming and complete your regular exit site care.