When confined to a wheelchair, keeping yourself safe and healthy during travel means you will need to take extra precautions. Proper travel preparations can make all the difference between a great vacation and one that is less than pleasant.
1) Check (and double-check!) that you have all necessary medications
Even if you will only be traveling for a few days, it is wise to have at least twice the medication you think you will need. Unfortunate events do occur and the last thing you will want to deal with is running out of an important medication.
While traveling with medications, it is vital that they are kept out of sunlight and at reasonable temperatures. On a similar note, be sure you are familiar with your medications and how they make affect you. Certain meds can exacerbate dehydration or even make you lightheaded while in the sunlight for a prolonged amount of time.
2) Make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
Traveling can be exhausting and, depending on what region you are in, quite hot. One of the single most important aspects to safe traveling is to make sure you stay hydrated at all times. Sitting in wheelchair can cause you to sweat more, even in fairly comfortable temperatures.
Aim to drink at least 2 liters of water a day. If you're in a hotter climate, aim for about 2 ½ liters. Though water is the most important liquid you should be drinking, sports drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade are an excellent addition. Stay away from alcoholic drinks and those with extra sugar (soda and some juices).
3) Dress properly for the weather
Those in wheelchairs, especially due to a spinal injury, may have a difficult time regulating their body temperatures. Dressing in layers can help you regulate your body by being able to remove layers to cool down and add layers to stay warm.
If you're in a warm or sunny climate, wearing as hat is ideal. Hats will keep the sun off your face as well as help keep you cool. Thicker has are perfect for cold weather and can really help keep your entire body warmer.
4) Take vitamins regularly
Vitamins can go a long way in keeping you healthy during at any time of the year. Vitamin C in particular is perfect for those who travel. This vitamin goes a long way in improving your skin, which is necessary for those who use a wheelchair.
Vitamin D is another excellent addition since it boosts your immune system. When traveling out of the country you may expose your body to new germs that it will not know how to handle. Taking vitamin D will help lessen the chance of you getting sick.
5) Protect your skin
Always bring sunscreen with you while you are traveling. Even in cloudy weather, the sun's rays can still reach your body and cause sunburn. Sunscreen is just as important in summer as it is in winter. Your sunscreen should be a minimum of 25 SPF and have UVA/UVB protection.
Reapplying your sunscreen every few hours is a good practice if you are sweating. Another way to protect your skin is to apply insect repellents when you are in the woods and countryside.
Traveling in a wheelchair will be a breeze when you follow simple guidelines to keep yourself health and safe. If you ever have concerns about traveling, speaking with a trusted physician will help you determine what steps are necessary for you.