*updated July 2018*
It can be so difficult to stay cool in a wheelchair and as I am writing this I am sitting in my garden in the sun and it is boiling hot. But I am sure that as soon as I hit the publish button I will tempt fate and be putting the sun firmly back behind a cloud, never to be seen again! So if that does happen, and this post signals the end of the summer, I am truly sorry!
Keeping William cool on days like today is pretty difficult, not least because he is sitting in a foam chair with black covers on it.
So, here are my top tips for keeping cool.
1. As I said above, Williams chair is black and we all know that black retains the heat. So on really hot days I cover his wheelchair with a white cotton pillow case to give him something a little cooler to sit on. His head rest is not only black, it’s also covered in a plastic material which makes his head sweat so we use a small white flannel to cover the parts that touch his head.
2. We discovered these great cooling towels a few years ago and I swear by them. You simply pop them into some cold water, wring them out completely and they stay cool for ages. Because they are so absorbent they don’t make your clothes too wet when you use them, like a standard towel would. You can find them in various different sizes too which is really handy. We like the little ones as they’re good to take out and about with us.
3. People always advise you to run your wrists under a cold tap for five seconds each every couple of hours. Because the main vein passes through this area, it helps cool the blood. It is difficult to get William close enough to a cold tap, so we wring out our cooling towel over his wrists instead.
4. Someone recently recommended I get some Migraine cooling strips. Apparently, although these are designed to soothe headaches, they come into their own on hot days as they instantly cool your skin when applied and they don’t have to just be used on your head. They can be found in chemists so I will investigate these a bit more and feedback to you!
5. Misting handheld fans are great, William can’t hold one of these himself so we tend to just use it now and then when we can hold it ourselves. I really must look into methods of attaching it to his wheelchair, you can get a clip on fans which are great too but the missing ones work even better when it’s a really hot day.
6. Did you know you can buy sunshades and umbrellas that can attach to your wheelchair? Pretty much like they would attach to a baby’s pram, only slightly bigger. These are brilliant especially if you are struggling to find any shade. They are pretty tricky to use when you’re pushing the wheelchair though unless you’re 10 feet tall and can see over it, so we tend to stick with a cap when walking and use the umbrella when we stop.
7. Hats, of course, are essential for keeping cool and keeping the sun off your head!
8. If all else fails to have an ice-cream! William actually doesn’t like ice cream usually but in this photo, we were at Walt Disney World and it was ROASTING. it’s the ONLY time he has ever licked an ice-cream!
I’m sure there are lots of other top tips you can share with me to keep William cool, so please leave a comment for me!
** Update July 2018 **
Since we seem to be having the hottest summer since earth began I wanted to add a quick update to this post. I recently shared this video on Facebook explaining that we have been using a cooling pad on Williams wheelchair. So this might help you as well..