No matter which hemisphere you live in, the hot season is tough on kids (and adults) in Scoliosis braces. After 6+ years with either one or two kiddos in a brace, we developed some strategies to deal with the heat. Granted, we live in Michigan in the United States, where temps are pretty mild in our summer. But, these tips should help no matter where you live.
- Get an undershirt that is thin, moisture wicking, and comfortable to wear under the brace, with as few wrinkles as possible under the brace. Obviously, for us, that was the undergarments we make at EmBraced In Comfort. Natural fibers feel better when wet – shirts with too high of a polyester content will definitely dry faster, but can pool moisture against the skin, instead of wicking it away from the skin. That is why our customers like the Organic Cotton/ Bamboo blend – The cotton helps hold the moisture away from the skin, while the bamboo wicks it away.
- Strategize the out-of-brace time you have with cooling activities. Plan a swim or some water play and take advantage of the time to let your child feel the freedom of being out of the brace. The other advantage is the movement of swimming or water play will help build strength in their muscles that are usually dormant while wearing a brace.
- If it’s hot, and it’s time to wear the brace, try to move indoors or into the shade. Air conditioning is very helpful. Remember that your person in a brace is feeling MUCH hotter than you are. Don’t be a hero or expect them to “tough it out” – just use the AC or go to a place that has AC on a very hot day. Fans can also be very helpful, as well as small ice packs. I have a fan like THIS ONE that I can wear as a necklace. I don’t even wear a brace, but I use it for when I’m doing chores or sitting outside when it’s hot and humid. A little airflow works wonders and it does a great job of cooling me off. It can even be aimed down the brace for a little short term cooling.
- Be diligent about switching out undergarments more frequently – especially after a sweaty time outdoors. Taking off a brace, putting on a dry shirt, and putting the brace back on can really take the edge off a hot experience.
- Make sure to treat any spots that seem to be rubbing under the brace right away. Sores and chaffing can be worse in the hot weather. My favorite go-to cream, not only for brace sores, but also for mosquito bites and other itchiness is CALMOSEPTINE CREAM. You can buy it at many drug stores (at least in the US). You use a VERY TINY amount (I’ve been on the same tube for many years). It has an analgesic to make the sting or pain less while it prevents any further irritation to the area. I find it to be pretty safe, but there is a bit of a tingle when applied. In fact, we first learned about it because our pediatrician suggested it as a diaper cream way back before bracing.
- Know which battles to pick – the warm months are often when we go and do all sorts of fun things out doors. It really stinks to have to wear a brace. If your person is usually very diligent about wearing a brace all the hours they are supposed to, it is ok to add an hour here or there out of the brace. If a beach day goes long, or a pool party at a freind’s house, allowing some flexibility helps for long term compliance and allows kids to be kids every once in a while. It’s not for every day, but just remember that Scoliosis is like all other things – perfection is not usually attainable or reasonable. Living life to its fullest also has to have a place during family fun times. It’s about balance, and only your family can determine what that right balance is.