Using Your Electric Wheelchair Safely in the Summer Heat
Summer Fun – Safely
As the mercury rises you will want more than ever to get out and about on your Quingo powered wheelchair to enjoy the warmth, light and fresh air that we all find so uplifting. Taking a trip on your wheelchair is a great way to cool down and enjoy the beauty of nature and a Quingo Connect can reduce the amount you exert yourself and therefore help in preventing over heating. Before you do this we would like to suggest a few precautions and offer some advice as to how to remain safe and sound on your adventures.
Before you depart there are some things you should do in preparation.
Make sure your wheelchair is fully charged and check general condition.
Plan your route taking in to account the range of your wheelchair leaving a reserve in case something changes in your route.
Inform others of your intended route and stick to it.
Where possible plan the route to be shaded, great places being wooded areas, and where this is not possible be aware of shaded areas you can get to easily along the way. This could be a shop or similar. Avoid travelling during the brightest periods of the day (12pm-3pm) during these periods maybe get some rest so you are ready for your trip.
Before any trip out ensure you have a good idea of the expected weather. Make sure you are dressed in the right kind of clothes, in hot weather natural fabrics like cotton are best and light and white colours will reflect the heat. If it is likely there will be thunderstorms then a brolly or a light cagoule may be a wise addition.
Wear a hat, carry a parasol or sunshade.
Apply sunscreen to your skin, preferably with a high protection factor, we all know how uncomfortable sun burn is and, as we get older, our skin is drier and burns with greater ease.
Carry some cool water at all times and drink frequently to ensure you stay hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks as they are much less effective.
Take frequent breaks in shaded areas, this is the perfect time to have a drink and re-hydrate!
Be aware of the symptoms of heatstroke. The key things to look out for are headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, muscle cramps, a rapid pulse and cold and clammy skin can also be indicators. If you are not sure then seek medical assistance immediately.
Things that may contribute to the risk of heat related illness are:
Avoid alcoholic drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration and effects judgment making you less likely to notice the onset of heat related illness.
As we get older as well our circulation becomes poorer, our sweat glands are less efficient and our skin itself changes, all of which make it more difficult to keep cool.
In addition to this many medications can inhibit perspiration such as certain heart and blood pressure drugs, sedatives and tranquilisers and diuretics. However it is vital that you keep up your medications asking your Doctor or pharmacist about any potential issues may be a good idea.
High blood pressure could mean you may have a specific diet and those on salt restricted diets may be at risk so consult your GP.
Heart, lung and kidney diseases are also likely to cause issues in the heat so take extra care if you suffer from any of these.
If you are overweight you will also find it more difficult to keep cool so take this in to account.
Above all you are the best judge of your own state of health. If you start to feel unwell get assistance immediately!
Map apps such as Google Maps or Apple Maps can tell you where you are and help you get to where you want to be. Make sure you know how to use them.
If you are going on your own make sure if you have a mobile phone you have added an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number and make sure it is fully charged. If you don’t have a mobile phone carry a small book with a contact in the front pages named ICE. This contact should be someone such as your next of kin or a close friend or neighbour that you would like the emergency services to contact in the event of an emergency.
We would also recommend installing the Red Cross first aid app on your phone. You can find that HERE