Hangout with Advanced OT & Wheelchair User
Recently, Corien sat down with Advanced Occupational Therapist Susie Turnbull and wheelAIR PRO Sophie Bevan to discuss over-heating, over-sweating, and general discomfort for wheelchair users. Often, these issues can be overlooked and we want to change the conversation so that people are empowered to share their experiences.
Why is it important to talk about over-heating and over-sweating?
It’s important to talk about over-heating and over-sweating and how to manage these issues because as Sophie says, you don’t really realise they are an issue and you “just deal with it.”
From day one at wheelAIR, we want to help wheelchair users overcome these issues and feel cool, comfortable, and in control to live their day to day lives.
Susie mentions how “Overheating can make some feel loss of control, very anxious, it can be quite stressful, it can be quite physically upsetting, painful because of the spasms, it’s exhausting, and it’s really life-limiting. You’re not able to participate in the activity that you were doing or are doing. So it can be quite a stressful experience if you don’t have the mechanisms to cool down”.
Not only are over-heating and over-sweating stress-inducing problems, but they also can have severe medical consequences. We discussed this with Susie, who said;
“Over-heating and over-sweating is a very significant consequence for someone with a spinal cord injury, whose mechanisms to regulate their body temperature is defect. I’ve seen it first hand, the impact that over-heating has on someone’s ability to carry out their daily activities and for their general well-being as well. Not just to simply carry out tasks, but for safety, the medical consequences as well, blood pressure, feeling of wellness. It is a significant issue.”
For Sophie, who has Cerebral Palsy, over-heating causes severe discomfort as well as muscle spasms. When it’s busy at work, Sophie says “For me, it’s overheating. I find it more so when I’m moving around, manually propelling my wheelchair. I get very hot, very quickly. I have to take a break to cool down, and when you’re trying to do life, it’s quite difficult just to take a break when you feel a bit hot.”
Dealing with over-heating and over-sweating isn’t something that should just be ignored or considered less important than other aspects of your health.
“As an OT, I want to enable someone to fulfill their life activities and get busy living. WheelAIR helps them feel more comfortable to live their daily life without interruption, without worry or anxiety about what their body is going to do that day, that’s a real bonus for their wellbeing and physical health.”