According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 3.6 million people in the United States who are 15 or older use a wheelchair. For wheelchair users, summertime can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the warm weather and long days make it easier to get out and about. On the other hand, the heat and crowds can make it more difficult to navigate. Whether you're hitting the beach or taking a stroll through the park, here are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe in your wheelchair for the remainder of the summer and into the fall.
1. Stay Hydrated
This is important for everyone in the summer heat, but it's especially important for wheelchair users. When you're out in the sun, your body temperature can rise quickly, and you may not realize you're getting dehydrated until it's too late. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and if possible, bring a water bottle with you when you go out.
2. Use Sunscreen
Again, this is important for everyone, but it's especially crucial for wheelchair users. When you're sitting in a chair, your skin is exposed to the sun for longer than if standing up. This can increase your risk of getting sunburned or developing skin cancer. Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly, and consider wearing a hat or other protective clothing to cover your skin.
3. Keep Your Wheelchair Clean
In the summer heat, your wheelchair can get dirty quickly. This is not only unsightly, but it can also be dangerous. A build-up of dirt and grime can make it difficult to move your wheelchair and lead to skin irritation. Make sure to clean your wheelchair regularly, and if possible, invest in a cover to keep it clean when you're not using it.
4. Wear Gloves
During the summer, your hands can get sweaty, making it difficult to grip the wheels of your wheelchair. Wearing gloves can help absorb the sweat and keep your hands dry. This will help you maintain a better grip on your wheelchair and make it easier to move around.
5. Take Breaks
When it's hot outside, your body can get tired quickly. If you're feeling fatigued, take a break in the shade or go inside to cool off. It's important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.
Following these tips will help you stay safe in your wheelchair this summer. However, the best way to stay safe is to be prepared. Make sure you have a plan in place in case of an emergency, and always let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back. Contact us today for all the wheelchair accessories you need!