“I always wear a hat outside to protect my healing scar.” – Karen
Most people welcome hot weather, but for many people with a brain injury the heat can cause problems and make it harder to manage the effects of their injury.
A brain injury can sometimes cause problems with temperature regulation making it harder for survivors to control their body temperature. They may feel too hot or too cold, or fluctuate between the two. Other symptoms, such as fatigue and cognitive problems may be exacerbated in hot weather.
Here are a few tips to help you stay cool this summer:
- Keep hydrated: make sure to hydrate yourself throughout the day as it is important to keep your fluid levels up. Keep a water bottle with you and try to avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeine as these increase dehydration.
- Avoid going out at the hottest time of the day: the sun is at its hottest between 11am and 3pm, so try and avoid being out in direct sunlight by scheduling your outdoor activities later on in the day.
- Use cooling aids: electric fans, ice packs, cool gel pillows and wet cloths are your best friend!
- Wear sunglasses: many brain injury survivors struggle with light sensitivity and headaches which may be exacerbated in bright sunlight. Wearing dark sunglasses may help relieve the symptoms of light sensitivity.
- Look after your skin: your skin can be very vulnerable during hot weather, so make sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- Medication: some medications make your skin more sensitive or cause temperature regulation issues. Check the possible side-effects in the information leaflet and speak to your doctor about the potential consequences of your medication and don’t forget to store them at the recommended temperature!
Make sure to check in on each other and look after yourselves as those with pre-existing health conditions may be particularly vulnerable.