It's the first day of summer, and for most kids that means a break from school and plenty of time to play outside. But for transplant recipients, it's a time to be extra careful. The sun can be damaging to their skin, so they need to take precautions such as wearing sunscreen and staying in the shade. In addition, they need to be careful about where they swim. There are many bacteria in the water that could make them sick, so it's important to avoid lakes and rivers.
According to the International immunosuppression & Transplant Skin Cancer Collaborative (ITSCC) additional risk factors are higher risk factors for skin cancer are:
Transplantation of a thoracic organ such as a heart or lung
Longer duration of immunosuppression or time since transplantation
Higher doses of immunosuppression or treatment of graft vs host
Certain medications, such as Voriconazole and Azathioprine
HPV skin infection (common warts)
But have hope, The Society for Pediatric Dermatology has guides to help you as a parent/caregiver with summer safety:
If you'd like to hear more about pediatric transplant dermatology concerns watch the session dedicated to this topic at our 2022 Pediatric Transplant Conference.
Swimming advice seems to vary greatly center to center. We would strongly suggest speaking to your team about what they feel is save. The top three articles we found for institutions seemed inline as after the first year, chlorinated pools seemed to be alright. The ocean was also acceptable to most. Public hot tubs/spas and lakes (or any stagnating water) seemed to present the highest danger of infection. Here are the articles we reference, which are full transplant guides with mention to water play for transplant recipient children.
With a little bit of care, transplant recipients can enjoy all the fun of summertime. Make sure to cover up, hydrate often, and be careful to take the advice of your team on where to swim.
**Transplant Families does not give medical advice and always defers to the advice of your child's transplant team.
**If you would like to see us dive deeper into this topic with clinical experts, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider adding these topics as a future topic for conference, webinar, or podcast.