Outdoor summer health concerns for people who have a disability can go beyond bug bites and sun burn. The extreme heat and humidity can be a serious health concern for people who have certain conditions.
Why can the heat and humidity be a big problem for people who have a disability?
- Some disabilities make it difficult to regulate body temperature. For example, people who have certain types of spinal injuries can have a lower ability to sweat and therefore cool their body temperature.
- Certain medications can make the effect of extreme heat worse.
- Heat stroke is serious and needs medical attention. Symptoms include sweating, heat cramps, a loss of consciousness, confusion.
Please talk about some precautions people should take for their skin when they’re in the sun.
For example, a person who uses a wheelchair needs to be cautious about accidentally burning their skin when they come in contact with metal parts of a chair—such as foot rests, arm rests and brakes—when they’re outside because the sun can quickly heat the metal.
Taking certain medications can make it easier to get a sun burn or feel the effects of the heat.
Medications and heat are often not a good combination, please share some tips for keeping things cool:
Make sure you have a cooler or a cool place to store medications when you’re out in the sun.
What are some general tips for staying happy and healthy in the summer sun?
- Take plenty of fluids to ensure good hydration
- Limit caffeinated beverages
- Wear sun screen
- Try to exercise during the cooler times of the day
- Dress for the weather—wear light colors and clothing that can reflect the sunlight and heat
- Make sure your child’s safety seat and belt buckles are not too hot before you secure your child.
- Playground equipment can often get very hot in the sun—check the equipment before your child uses it. A playground slide in the sun can be very hot!