Location: Valencia, Spain
Seating: Air cushion (Roho)
Condition: Spina Bifida
Heat issues: Heat discomfort
Moisture issues: Sweat build-up
Romina's experience with heat and moisture issues
Romina is a 24-year-old student from Valencia, Spain with Spina Bifida. She has used a wheelchair since she was a child and has struggled with heat and moisture issues caused by overheating and over-sweating. Staying cool and dry in the sunny climes of the southeastern coast of Spain is a challenge for anyone. For Romina, however, it had a profound impact on her quality of life. She explains:
“I used to struggle a lot with heat discomfort and sweating, which also caused skin irritation and dehydration. These issues didn’t allow me to dress up comfortably or be active, and I had to stay at home for most of the day during summer, which became a serious problem with the start of the academic year.”
“Moreover, the excessive sweating often made me dizzy, gave me headaches and the water loss had a very negative impact on my kidney and bladder function, increasing the risk of bladder stones and UTIs. In addition, these issues didn’t allow me to use some orthopedic items that are crucial for my health and well-being, such as my corset which supported my posture.”
With a lack of solutions to this problem, Romina felt forced to stay at home with the air-conditioning, taking regular showers to cool off, and, during the warmest months of the year, tried to spend as much time as possible somewhere colder. Eventually, she came across WheelAir as a potential solution.
“Last summer, I was looking for tips other wheelchair users may have to manage overheating when I bumped into WheelAir,” continued Romina.
“At first glance it seemed like an excellent option to help me deal with the previously described issues. The product description itself made sense and I thought it could really be helpful for me. The detailed information on the website, the case studies and the customer support when I first contacted WheelAir were also determining factors.”
Romina started using her WheelAir Slingback in September 2020 and feels it has been effective in easing all of her heat and moisture problems.
“The heat relief makes me feel a lot more comfortable. I can wear a wider range of clothing, I can be more active during the day and I can go out anytime during the day. The symptoms of dehydration have also decreased, as I rarely experience headaches and dizziness. The effects and risks of dehydration on my bladder and kidneys seem to have decreased too.”
“Besides this, I would say WheelAir’s most relevant contribution to my well-being is that it allows me to continue using my orthopedic corset during the warmest months of the year.”
Even with the WheelAir, peak summer temperatures in Valencia, where it can soar above 30°C, still prove difficult to combat for Romina. In such temperatures, the WheelAir will still reduce relative humidity in the contact area, helping to keep it cool and dry. However, the impact of the airflow from the fans may have less of a direct cooling effect.
“Although WheelAir provides a good heat relief, I would say its impact is more noticeable when temperatures stay below 30 degrees. Otherwise, its positive effects start to be overpowered by the heat.”
Romina uses her Slingback for several hours at a time, mostly using a mid-range of fan speed (3-4) and sometimes using the second-highest setting (5) for more instant relief. “I use WheelAir at home when I’m wearing the corset and I always turn it on when I’m going out during the day or I’m at university,” she explained.
“It is most effective when I have to go out during the day, go to university (and more so when taking exams as being comfortable helps me stay focused) and when I use my orthopedic corset at home.”