safety tips for wheelchair usersSummer is the time when practically everyone relishes getting out and about and enjoying the sunshine. Wheelchair users and their caregivers are no exception. But if you use a wheelchair, you have special needs to keep in mind. Familiarizing yourself with these summertime safety tips will go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones healthy and safe. 

Don’t forget — a chair can get hot
When metal and plastic surfaces on a wheelchair are exposed to direct sunlight for an extended time, they get hot.  It doesn’t take long for metal to reach temperatures that can burn skin — the wheelchair user’s or the caregiver’s. If you’re planning to be outside, seek out shade whenever possible, or take something to cover up the metal parts of your chair. Another option is a wheelchair umbrella.

Sunscreen is a must
You probably use sunscreen on your face, neck and arms. Don’t forget to use it on other exposed areas, as well. Legs and even feet can burn easily if you don’t use sunscreen. Remember to reapply it frequently, because perspiration can wash the sunscreen away.

Take along water
Don’t assume that water will be available when you’re on the go. Many water fountains are too high for wheelchair users, and you can’t always count on them being in the area. Take a water bottle instead.

Avoid overheating
Sunstroke and heatstroke are an unfortunate reality of summers in Arizona. Don’t let yourself fall victim to overheating. Make sure both you and your caregiver take the time to cool down adequately when the weather heats up. Seek out areas with shade or air conditioning, and make frequent stops if necessary.

Wear gloves
It sounds strange, doesn’t it? Gloves in summertime? But a simple pair of driving gloves worn by you or your caregiver can cut down on blisters (caused by too much wheelchair use) and burns (from accidentally touching hot wheelchair surfaces). Consider buying summer cycling gloves. In addition to providing protection, they will cushion your hands against vibration and keep your hands from slipping because of perspiration. Look for gloves with vented mesh backs.

At Power Mobility and Lifts, we’re proud to serve wheelchair and power scooter users throughout Arizona. With 24-hour customer phone support and in-home maintenance visits, we go the distance to make sure you never have to slow down. Contact us today to learn more.

Outside image via Shutterstock

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