By Fliss Kay | sweetcleanliving.com
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Taking care of the side effects caused by radiation therapy often takes a backseat to treating the root cause of the problem. Yet, it’s incredibly important to take note of any and all side-effects which may occur during, or after treatments, as - left untreated and ignored, they can develop and cause further problems.
It’s the little things, like looking after yourself, which can make you more comfortable and get you through your radiation therapy. The below list is just a few examples of potential Radiation therapy side-effects, and some quick, cheap and easy ways of how these can be dealt with.
Remember, the better you look after yourself, the stronger you will be!
The most basic and important piece of advice to give anyone undergoing non-intrusive bodily treatment is to stay hydrated.
Drinking fluids (the best is filtered water) not only flushes your system, but keeps your body’s organs and processes running smoothly. Water-filled cells are stronger cells, and have stronger chances of fighting against aggressive diseases and treatments.
Additionally, avoid temperature-controlled rooms, as the air in them is very dry. This quickly dries out your skin and your mouth far quicker than in a non-temperature controlled environment.
In addition to the above tip to stay hydrated, if you’re experiencing nausea and/or vomiting, you can target two birds with one stone by drinking herbal teas. The best for nausea are ginger and peppermint, both of which have natural anti-nausea properties.
If you find yourself vomiting and unable to even keep down liquids for 24 hours or more, go straight to an emergency room.
Firstly, it’s important to note that your muscles could be feeling sore or stiff for any number of reasons. Primarily, it’s because this is the first area to feel the effects of an intrusive therapy -muscles form a protective layer around the body’s organs, so if you’re targeting a specific area of the body, you’re going to be hitting those muscles first. It’s for this reason that you need to pay attention to any muscle soreness, and treat it.
The most effective ways to do this are by (again), remaining hydrated (hydrated muscles are stronger, better functioning muscles!) and also through professional massage. Note - it’s important to let your massage therapist know that you are undergoing treatment, and the specific area which is being targeted. There are also massage therapists who specialist in palliative care - ask your physician or oncologist to refer you one should you wish to go down this route.
An easy, speedy and cheaper way to soothe muscle soreness is to run a warm bath and lay in it. Make sure the water is not too hot, and add some lavender oil for a bit of extra relaxation.
Diarrhea is your body’s way of quickly ridding itself of toxins. Although it’s unpleasant, it’s a necessary and natural ‘emergency’ bodily function. Therefore, if you have diarrhea - you need to let it happen. Do not take any medication to stop the diarrhea.
There are easy, natural ways to strengthen your stomach and your bowel movements - primarily, boiled white rice. Prepare some, without salt or oils, and eat as much as you feel you can. Otherwise, healthy carbohydrates and foods high in starch, such as a plain slice of toast, or hard crackers (such as saltines) absorb the excess acids in your stomach, stopping diarrhea sooner rather than later. Also, remember to replace your fluids and stay hydrated - diarrhea uses your body’s water supply, and can dehydrate you quickly.
An important note: If you have been having bad diarrhea and/or vomiting for over 24 hours, and it’s showing no sign of stopping, you should go straight away to an emergency clinic.
This tends to affect each person differently - for some, ‘tender skin’ may be redness, or swelling; for others, it could be dryness or itching.
Whatever type of tenderness the skin is experiencing, there are some easy ways to manage and prevent further inflammation. For example, protect yourself from the sun - either with sun cream or by covering up the area which is tender. Sun cream has wonderful healing properties for certain types of damaged skin, however do not apply it if your skin is irritated as it will make it worse.
In general you should avoid using any skin products, hot water and soap - as these will irritate and dry an already inflamed area. Try to keep your skin care as simple as possible, and if you have muscle soreness in the same area, try a warm - not hot - compress, applied through a sheet or protective layer.
Hopefully, you won’t have to experience any of these side-effects which sometimes can be nasty, however feel free to enjoy these tips - they are of generally important to a healthy, well-balanced life.