Wheelchair users, listen up! Sitting in a wheelchair can be uncomfortable at times, especially during the summer. The armrests can get hot and sticky, and you can start sweating in your clothes, making you even more uncomfortable.
While some people might not see your struggle with the heat, the truth is, ANYONE and EVERYONE can suffer from the heat, especially at summertime. And yes, ANYONE and EVERYONE can suffer from heat stroke, including the wheelchair-bound. Heat strokes can be scary, but fear not!
In this article, we’ll give you 10 tips on how to stay cool in the hot weather if you use a wheelchair. No matter what your wheelchair is made of – leather or vinyl – it’s important to stay cool in the summer heat. Hot weather shouldn’t have to keep you from enjoying the summer vibes. By following these 10 tips, wheelchair users don’t have to skip out on all the fun. Stay cool and enjoy summer!
1. Evaporative Inserts
Evaporative inserts have gel material that are water-absorbent. Once you soak them in water for a bit, you can place them anywhere on your person, like your hat for example. When you wear these inserts, their gels will cool you for up to 2 hours, making it ideal for short outings.
2. Portable Mister
Portable misters may look like regular water bottles, but these products have a pump that lets you pressurize the air in the bottle. With a small nozzle-and-valve hose extending from the bottom of the bottle, you can pump the bottle a few times and twist the valve. What results is seconds of cold mist that you can spray onto your face, arms, and neck.
3. Chill Wrists
Did you know? Wrists are sensitive parts of the body. Now, when you expose the wrists to a fan or an ice pack, you’ll get a chilling sensation. That might sound a bit odd, but still effective, if you don’t want to deal with too much fan or ice.
4. Hot Drinks?!
Now, you would think that cool drinks are an obvious solution to keeping yourself cool. But what about hot drinks? They can help too! Drinking hot drinks helps the body cool down by having you sweat faster. As a result, this extra heat from the hot drink can get you to cool down.
5. Cooling Vests
Cooling vests are great for longer outings in the sun. You can buy them in any 3 forms:
- Evaporating cooling (lasts for 4 hours)
- Those with frozen cold-pack inserts (about 3 hours)
- Electrical (about 10 hours)
6. Wear Loose + Light Clothing
Loose, light and natural fabrics are breathable, and won’t be constricting when you’re in the heat. This is especially good for wheelchair users, because sitting in a wheelchair can be claustrophobic at times — The heat makes it so much worse.
Be sure to move your body around in your wheelchair by repositioning yourself every so often. Even if you fidget every so often, movement is key to staying cool. One example of moving in your chair is by laying your arm on a cooler spot on your chair. Yes. Even simple movement can keep you cool.
You heard right. Just breathe. Here, you can try some breathing techniques that can help you keep cool. While breathing through your nose is still common, try inhaling through your mouth every once in a while. Believe it or not, the saliva cools when you inhale through the mouth, giving you that bowl-of-water sensation.
9. Plan Early + Late Activities
Your schedule matters, when it comes to staying cool. For example, if you plan on visiting the park, you may want to avoid times where the hot weather is at its highest. That means getting to the park early in the morning, or sometime in the even when the heat is going down. Also, keep in mind that the sun will be out for longer periods during the summer. You may want to stay indoors as often as you can until dusk.
10. Stay Hydrated
Finally, this point is crucial: stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water, plenty of fluids, the works! When you sweat, you lose water. So, when you stay hydrated by drinking water, you’ll feel cooler. Try not to drink caffeine or alcohol.