Home > Anxiety > 6 Ways Autistic People Can Manage the Heat Wave

6 Ways Autistic People Can Manage the Heat Wave

 As Ireland finally sees a bit of sun, autistic people may be especially at risk under the current heat wave. Members of our community may be more vulnerable to the heat for a number of reasons.  Some autistic people may experience hypersensitivity, making high temperature, sticky clothing or even the sensation of sweat on the skin far more unsettling than their peers. This increased sensory input results in higher anxiety levels and may even increase the risk of a meltdown. This is complicated further because the texture of sunscreen can be distressing for autistic people. It also carries its own risks for hyposensitive autistic people (those with decreased sensory response). someone who can tolerate high temperatures and may find it harder to identify the signs of dehydration or sunburn.  It is no secret that we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather right now. Irish homes and workplaces are traditionally built to retain heat, meaning we aren’t all necessarily prepared for a sudden temperature rise. AsIAm has laid out a number of strategies for autistic people to cope during the heat wave.  Tips for Staying Cool  #1 Your Freezer is your friend: Opening the freezer is a moment of bliss for everyone during a heat wave. Weather it’s to retrieve ice or a frozen treat, this appliance will do most of the work toward keeping you and your family cool. Ice cubes can be put into most beverages, but make sure to sip carefully as seen below. Alternatively, try sucking on ice cubes throughout the day to cool down. For another quick relief, put a damp tea towel into the freezer then draping it around your neck. Try putting a hot water bottle filled with water in the freezer instead. But make sure to wrap it in fabric afterwards to avoid Ice Burn.  #2 Hydrate properly: It’s crucial to replace the water your body is losing through sweat. Iced water is even better but make sure to drink in sips instead of gulps. Avoid drinks with too much sugar or caffeine; they can dehydrate your further and increase your chances of anxiety attacks. Alcohol is especially dangerous during a heatwave as it can cause even further dehydration. If you’re especially active during the day, make sure you’re taking in enough electrolytes with your water.  #3 Stay in the shade: The sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm. You should try to minimize your outdoor activity during these times. If you’re getting a lot of glares from the sun through your windows, try placing cardboard and tinfoil with the shiny side facing towards the sun. It’s important to note you should avoid doing this if your‘re house faces a busy road to avoid blinding motorists. If you find yourself overwhelmed during this time, try taking a power nap. Heat rises, so if sleeping downstairs is an option, take it!   #4 Ventilation: The temptation is to keep windows open all day, but this can be counter productive. Open your windows during the night or early morning but close them and your blinds and curtains before 10am to keep cold air trapped if possible. This is especially true for the side of your house which faces the sun. If you have a fan, but no air conditioning, try placing a bowl of ice just in front of the fan to cool its air flow.  #5 Take precautions outdoors  While you should minimize your time in the sun, your job or routine might require you to go outside. If you absolutely must leave your house, make sure to bring sunglasses to avoid sensory overload. While walking, try to stay in areas which have a lot of trees; our green friends are excellent sources of natural ventilation. Apply sunscreen, making sure to remember the back of the neck and where your skin meets sleeves, cuffs and socks. (Make sure to try different types of cream to find the best texture for your own needs.) Wear a hat to give yourself some shade. Try bringing a frozen tea towel in a zip-lock bag to use if you overheat.   #6 Know the signs of heatstroke and dehydration  Due to hyposensitivity and alexithymia, some autistic people may not notice the signs of heat wave related health problems. Aside from thirst and feeling too hot, there are other physical signs to look out for. Headaches, fatigues, diarrhoea, faster heart rate and breathing are all signs of dehydration and heat stroke. If you’re not sure if you are hydrating enough, there are a few things you can check. Darker coloured urine can be a sign you need more water. When in doubt, try pinching the skin on the back of the hand for a few seconds. If it stays ‘up,’ this is a sign you need to hydrate or seek help.    

by - 20 July, 2021

Last updated by - July 20, 2021

in Anxiety, Health, Sensory

Can this be improved? Contact webeditor@asiam.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
You May ALso Like

Letter to Ministers Donnelly and Rabbite Regarding Dossiers Collected on Autistic Children

by - 26 March, 2021

We've written to Minsters Stephen Donnelly and Anne Rabbitte asking for an urgent meeting to disc...[...]

Football For All: Inclusive Sport in Ireland

by - 18 September, 2020

  Young people with additional needs have struggled during lockdown; along with the disru...[...]

Autism and Eating Disorders: Sharlene Woods and Fiona Fisher Bullivant

by - 2 July, 2020

Experts have discussed the correlation between autism and eating disorders before. However, they'...[...]

Echo’s Bones Call For Participants Aged 15-21

by - 27 May, 2020

Are you an autistic young person aged 15-21 living in north Dublin and interested in creative wri...[...]

Department of Health Clarifies 2km limit for Autistic Community

by - 9 April, 2020

AsIAm submitted a question to the Minister of Health in relation to Covid-19 restrictions for ind...[...]

SURVEY: How can AsIAm help during COVID-19?

by - 26 March, 2020

AsIAm has been working to support Ireland's autism community throughout the COVID-19 emergency. ...[...]

Autism and Covid19 Healthcare Information

by - 25 March, 2020

Here’s some specific information for the autistic community about the current crisis, developed b...[...]

Coronavirus Isolation Children’s Social Story *Text Only*

by - 20 March, 2020

  Your daily routine of going to school will be different and this might feel stressful. ...[...]

Covid19 Test Social Story TEXT ONLY

by - 20 March, 2020

   AsIAm Covid19 Testing Social Story If the doctor thinks that I might have Covid 19,...[...]

asiam logo_our week online_asiam ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation

Adam Harris Appointed To HSE Programme Board

by - 17 January, 2020

AsIAm are pleased to announce that our Chief Executive Officer Adam Harris, will be joining the H...[...]

National Gallery of Ireland Becoming Autism Friendly

by - 18 November, 2019

Last week the National Gallery of Ireland became the first cultural institution in Ireland to rec...[...]

Autism and Higher Education: Steve Silberman and Dr. Magda Mostafa

by - 25 September, 2019

AsIAm recently hosted an informal discussion for autism and higher education. The session began w...[...]

Robert Byrne’s Sensory Pod

by - 10 September, 2019

Today we sit down with Robert Byrne, creator of the sensory pod. Adapting the capsule hotels comm...[...]

Limerick Launches First Autism Friendly Intreo Office

by - 12 August, 2019

July saw the launch of Ireland's first autism friendly Intreo Office. Intreo Offices, a crucial p...[...]

AsIAm and Supervalu’s Corporate Charity Partnership Earns Award

by - 2 August, 2019

Coming ahead of some stiff competition, AsIAm and Supervalu have won the Corporate Charity Partne...[...]

teacher training autism

AsIAm CEO Addresses Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions on Mandatory Teacher Training

by - 25 June, 2019

Last Wednesday 19th June AsIAm Founder and CEO Adam Harris addressed the Oireachtas Committee on ...[...]

Our Week Online – 16/12/2018

by - 16 December, 2018

Welcome to the last Our Week Online of 2018. This will be our last round up of the year because w...[...]

Interview: Elaine Harris

by - 19 November, 2018

Elaine Harris is a yoga teacher who founded The Yoga Shed in Co. Wicklow in 2014, which serves to...[...]

How can I Explain My Child’s Sensory Needs to their New Teacher?

by - 19 September, 2018

Your child’s teacher may already be aware of autistic children's sensory needs. However, if your ...[...]

Building an Autism-Friendly Environment

by - 23 April, 2018

We often think of Autism Friendly environments as a strictly sensory exercise and that’s certainl...[...]

Brian Irwin: Sensory Overload & Meltdowns

by - 8 November, 2017

Sensory overloads are common experiences with many autistic individuals and can often lead to mel...[...]

Spotlight: Sensory Room at the Sligo Clayton Hotel

by - 2 August, 2017

This week, Sligo’s Clayton Hotel became the first hotel in Ireland to establish a room specifical...[...]

Adam Kennefick: Autism Through My Eyes

by - 17 July, 2017

When I was just a small child, my parents and teachers noticed something different about me. They...[...]

Was this article helpful?