You Can’t Get AC Everywhere: How I Stay Cool


Staying cool is crazy hard when you can’t sweat. Not being able to sweat of course is a side-effect of living with paralysis. One of the worst, actually, but this entry isn’t a pity party entry. Not today, my friends. This entry is all about finding solutions. The solution-finder. That should be my middle name.

I don’t care where you’re at – in your van, car, stuck in bed with a broke AC unit,maybe you’re outside at a music festival and shade is no where to be found. Here are my favorite ways to stay cool.

Sun shade

Southern belles had the right idea when they, and the ladies before them for centuries on back, used a sun umbrella to keep their fair skin as white as snow. That gave me an idea after visiting the local Renaissance fair, and my sun shade has been my last ditch go-to cooling method when finding shade is otherwise impossible. And gosh do they work quite well.

– Sun Parasols

Of course snagging one is a light color is a good idea. Mine is red and works good, but white would be much better. As for holding the darn thing while driving; that isn’t always easy. If you have a hard time holding a sun shade as you drive or push your chair, here’s a cool wheelchair umbrella-holder to consider

– Paraplis Umbrella Holder for Wheelchairs

Battery-powered fan w/ mister

Manually fanning yourself is so pre-Edison. Embrace electricity in the shape of a battery-power personal misting fan. I can’t fan myself too long without getting a tired arm and last year after the AC in my van broke, I turned to one of these as a way to keep myself cool upon arrival to my destination (setting it up to spray/mist me as I drive is still something I’d still love to figure out).

This product is one of the most fabulous cooling devices to be invented in recent years. As you know, sweat helps the body cool by coming into contact with air, and this mister pretty much does exactly that. Of course the batteries need to get replaced frequently if you use it a lot, but the thing works good. Every person out there with sweating issues should get one of these in their first-aid kit, stat.

– O2 Cool

Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist

I first came upon this magical stuff a couple years ago when I was in Denver, CO on a road trip. I was all blistery red from the extreme sun exposure which is common in high-elevation cities (learned the hard way!) and my sunscreen had run out. So I was in Target for a pit-stop, and I found Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist SPF 70.

The “cooling mist” intrigued me and boy was I pleasantly surprised. This stuff cooled my skin the second I sprayed it on, and it lingers. It really is a great thing to have if you’ve been burned and need a quick way to cool off.

– Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist SPF70

Gatorade

I know some people may think Gatorade is reserved for the athletes and the wanna-be Michael Jordan’s of the world, but there is healing power in them there electrolytes, and you can only get them in liquid form with Gatorade, well easily at least. Electrolytes are what your body needs if it’s overheating and needs to rehydrate asap, which btw is kinda essential to staying cool.

There are a million Gatorade flavors out there, but beware – not all of them are great; not by a long shot. But my favorites are Ice Blue, Grape and Strawberry. When summer hits, I make sure to keep a thing of Gatorade both in my fridge and in my van at all times. You just can’t be too safe. Messing around with possible heat strokes is no joke.

– Gatorade

The intense hot days look like they’re here to stay, which means your “stay cool” arsenal is just as important as your zombie and end-of-the-world arsenals. Be safe this summer, kids. I had a few close calls last summer and it was so scary stuff. Oh and remember when in a pinch, a cup of cold water over the head does the trick too.

How do you stay cool?

Photo courtesy of G. Briem

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