Heatwaves really do hit disabled people hard. It’s a shame there’s wasn’t time for me to share more tips but it’s awesome to get this message out there on the BBC. So, here’s the link and I’ll pop some more tips up too!
Evaporation cooling works well with a spray bottle of water. Just mist yourself down. But Cooling Towels are even better. Just soak them in water, wring out and wear. You can get multiple colours to match your outfits so you stay stylish in the heat too.
Phase change cooling vests work to keep your core temperature nice and low. They’re great for cooling while active. Especially if you need to exercise or be especially mobile. Buy a spare set of packs so you can alternate constantly in really hot weather.
Hydration isn’t just about fluids. You need to replace your salts too. Carrying electrolyte tabs or sachets with you means you can make isotonic drinks on the go as long as you’ve got access to clean water.
If you’re lucky enough to have some control over your schedule try modifying your work hours. Wake up earlier and make use of the cooler mornings. Have a siesta in the afternoon then work later again in the evening. I encourage employers to see this as a #ReasonableAdjustment
Along the #ReasonableAdjustment theme.. flexible working is essential for managing long term conditions. Consider working from home to avoid overheating on the commute! If you do have to commute, leave early to avoid rush hour and nap when you get to work.
If your home is cooler than outside, keep your curtains shut so it stays that way. Opening one window usually just let’s in hot air, open two opposite eachother to create a breeze. Or use fans to encourage air flow.
Consider your clothing options. The traditional dress of most desert countries is big, baggy and made of natural fibres. There good reason for this. Replicate it. Cover up but in lots of baggy linen and cotton. Anything not covered needs SPF. Dampen your clothing for extra cool!
Hats might not be suitable for all, like Emma Tracey says in the article, but a linen headscarf might not cause shadows while providing some protection for your neck and hairline. Plus it’ll hold less heat than dark coloured hair does. Desert countries got it right with head coverings.
On the off chance anyone from the government is reading this I’ve swallowed my rage and I’m sharing useful suggestions instead.
ACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE.
NHS reform.. stop the need for rereferral to see a specialist you’ve already seen before. It should not take a GP appointment and an 8 month wait to get one specialist question answered when it could have been done in a phonecall.
Clarify what “reasonable adjustment” actually means. The equality act should be so easy to argue against. “What is reasonable” should be written down. Set deadlines for implementation too.
Set a legal safe working temperature limit. Screw capitalism and protect people from heatstroke in the workplace. Just take a few days off unless you’re an emergency worker. Those workers should all get cool vests.
Finally, physicians prescribing medications should be legally obligated to talk about side effects. If your medication causes sun sensitivity or stops you sweating you need to know about it. Info leaflets in pill boxes are horribly inaccessible to many.
Thank you for coming to my TedTalk. If you need me, I’ll be in the fridge.