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Beat the Heat!

Tips for Individuals with SCI

It’s summer again and that means it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and weather. For persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) who have trouble regulating their body temperature, high temperatures can be more than just a little uncomfortable—they can be life threatening!

SCI and the Heat

People with SCI often have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Some (particularly those with injuries above T6) also do not sweat in response to heat, so there is no means of keeping the body cool. This is why people with SCI get easily overheated on hot, sunny days.

Tips to avoid overheating:

  • Always think ahead! Don’t wait until you feel overheated because by then it’s too late.
  • Carry a spray bottle with water for frequent misting. Spraying your face and head will help keep you cool.
  • Wear loose-fitting light-weight cotton clothing.
  • Avoid direct sunlight if possible. Wear a hat with a bill or brim to shade your face.
  • Carry lots of water and a cotton cloth or bandana. Drink the water to cool your core body temperature. Use the cloth to apply cool water to your face, neck, and shoulders or dampen the bandana and wear it around your head or neck.
  • It is important to remember, however, that if you drink more water, then you may need to catheterize or drain your leg bag more frequently.
  • Pack a small cooler with ice to keep your water bottles cold.
  • Use air conditioning or a fan whenever possible.

Have any questions? Please contact:  Dr. Trevor Dyson-Hudson 973-324-3576

Have you moved? Please contact: Rachel Byrne 973-324-3567   

Courtesy of the Northern NJ SCI System; supported by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, Grant #H133N110020.


Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 05/07/2015 - 10:38