Surviving the Summer with CSU
Although summer can be a particularly tricky time for those living with CSU, it doesn’t have to spell the end for warm-weather fun! Luke is sharing his tips for surviving the heat (and the hives).
The summer is my favorite season, and every spring I cross my fingers in the hopes that I will have a hive-free summer. Although wishing away hives isn’t a way to rid yourself of them, I’ve learned a few ways to make the most out of a summer despite my CSU.
Summertime, and the living is not so easy
One of the most frustrating parts of CSU is that I never know when I’ll get a flare-up. Attending weddings, beach days, vacations, BBQ’s and the like can be tricky, especially when it comes to what I should wear. I enjoy wearing tank tops, shorts and sandals – each of which are revealing (not in a scandalous sense). There is always an area that shows a bit too much of my condition, and even if I don’t have a flare-up, I worry about the scratch marks I’ve left.
The first few days of summer are the worst, because I forget how bad my skin looks when I`m bearing it all, which, coincidently, causes a flare-up. However, I’ve learned a little trick along the way: I keep a lightweight long-sleeve shirt and pants nearby. If I notice that I may be on the verge of getting a flare-up, I throw one on. It’s not just that I’m concerned about hiding my hives - the clothes are like a safety blanket, and I know my skin will feel good when I put them on because they are airy and 100% cotton.
Ahh, the summer days of my youth
When I would go to pool parties in my younger years, I would purposely “forget” my bathing suit so that I had an excuse to avoid the water. While I wanted to, it wouldn`t be worth the inquisitive stares wondering if my CSU was contagious. Most of my friends would only notice my hives in the summer, which meant I did a lot more explaining during the summertime. I had many excuses about rashes and allergic reactions. I always had to have an answer ready because people would undoubtedly ask.
As an adult, I’m a lot more open about it when I go to a party that involves bathing suits. I explain my condition upfront and people are often receptive to it. They always ask if it’s contagious, but I quickly tell them no. Some people even find it empowering that I can go without a shirt with CSU and bare my hives – who would’ve thought?
It can get easier
Things are a little different now. I’m definitely less self-conscious about my hives than I was when I was younger. Now I don’t hesitate taking my shirt off at the beach and jumping in the water. If I’ve RSVP’d to a friend’s wedding in the summer and I get a breakout the day before, I still go. I’ll be honest when I say that I’m still a little uneasy in social gatherings, and truthfully, I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that, but I’m making an effort. I use to dread the moment when a friend sees my condition and assumes/asks if it’s contagious – but now I see it as an opportunity to educate them. It’s important to not let it get to you. It’s not easy living with CSU, but summers can be a lot of fun if you keep a positive attitude and love the skin you’re in. Trust me!