Heading to the beach is one of the best summer activities. But what if your autoimmune disease has turned that fun beach trip into a nightmare? Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips and tricks for making that day of sunshine fun again!
My autoimmune disease, Multiple Sclerosis, rears its ugly head in the heat and humidity, which makes for really difficult beach days! But my husband and I absolutely love the beach, so we needed to figure out how to best co-exist with the sun, and all it has to offer, the good and the bad.
These are the tips and tricks that have best served me over the past few years.
Keeping it Cool
- Spray bottle: Fill up a small spray bottle with water, stick it in the freezer several days prior to your trip, take it out the morning of, then by the time you get to your destination, ta-da! A personal ice cold spray to keep you cool! Bonus points if it has a fan attached!
- Shade: My Husband and I were able to pick up a super simple, super easy to set up tent for the beach. Best buy ever. This little tent has extended our beach days by several hours every time we’ve used it. It provides ample shade and a place for me to relax. Money very well spent.
- Head into the water! :Where I live, Massachusetts, the water is FREEZING. But, that can actually be used to my advantage on really warm days. When I’ve just about had it with the hot temperature, I just head into the water for a few minutes. No, I’m not swimming around in it like a fish, but I’ll go stand it in up to my knees. This provides enough of a cool down for my body and will bring my core temp down where I can resume enjoying the day.
- Watch your sun exposure (especially with meds): Many medications are contraindicated for sun exposure. Make sure you’re aware if this applies to you! This could make for a very uncomfortable day..
Pack Your Food!
- Bring on the picnic: If you’re lucky enough to find a beach with a bathroom and concession stand, you’re not going to find AIP friendly/Wahls/healthy options, so you’ll have to pack your own! Bringing a small cooler filled with some fruit, deli meat (make sure to check for additives) and some snacks are great beach options. Just watch out for gulls!
Comfort is Key
- Sand, sand everywhere: Getting sand everywhere sucks, unless you’re 7 years old. Making sure you have a clean off method is important. This is another place where the spray bottle can come in handy! Sand can be super irritating, so making sure to get it all off ASAP is sometimes uber important.
- Change it up: Bring a change of clothes if you’re going elsewhere after the beach. And even if you’re not planning on it, having a change of clothes can come in very handy. Again, being in a wet/sandy suit can be uber irritating. And who wants to be in a bathing suit all day anyway? Not me. Maybe a 7 year old…
- The right size: This just might be me, but I LOVE having an oversize towel to lay on. I don’t have to worry (as much) about sand getting everywhere and I can really stretch out. Because why would I want to pack myself onto a little towel?
- Have the right amenities: Try to find a beach that has the whole shebang when it comes to amenities. Bathroom, changing room, showers etc. That makes a HUGE difference. Trust me. And when you’re picking your spot to set down your towels, tent etc? Make sure it’s as close, or as far, as you want to be from said amenities. For me, I know that I drink a lot of water when at the beach. #Hydration. So I know I need to be close to the bathroom.
Heading to the beach while having a MS or another autoimmune disease doesn’t have to be a hard experience. Using some of these tips has made life so much easier for me! I’d love to know if they help you as well or if you have some other beach or outdoor tips that you’ve used, let me know! I’d love to learn from you 😉