How to Practice Sun Safety When You Have a Disability

While many people are experiencing fall and getting ready for winter, it’s a different environment down here in Florida. In mid-October, we experienced a 92-degree day with total sunshine. If you are not careful, you can get a sunburn quickly. Here’s what you should know about sun safety.

The Importance of Sun Safety

A while back. I met up with a friend at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game. He uses a power wheelchair and has cerebral palsy. I noticed that his arms were very red. I asked him and his caregiver about this, and they said they weren’t expecting the sun to be as aggressive as it was. I suggested they find a shaded area to watch the game, but my friend told me that if he were to go inside somewhere he wouldn’t be able to watch the action, which defeats the whole purpose of attending a football game. Although he had a really great time at the football game, my buddy paid for it dearly. He was sunburn on his arms, legs and part of his face.

How the Sun Affects People with Disabilities

It's important to wear sunblock as part of your sun safety routine
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on

While everyone is at risk for dehydration, heat stroke and other heat-related issues, people with disabilities may be at a higher risk. Many disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis, increase a person’s sensitivity to heat. Lupus can cause inflammation in several organs that may be triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light. In addition, if you take certain kinds of medication, your skin may be extra sensitive to the sun’s rays.

Be Prepared When Spending the Day Outdoors

If you know you plan to spend the day outdoors, pack sunscreen and wear a hat. Consider wearing a long-sleeved sun shirt that offers UV protection. If you’re going somewhere like a beach, bring an umbrella. It’s also important to take breaks from the sun and find some shade for a while. In addition to sun protection, be sure to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water.

The last thing you want to worry about is your time ruined at an event because you didn’t come prepared.

About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.

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