Many of us think that the COVID-19 pandemic has made life more difficult and straining, and most of the time we can only whine so much about it. But things are even far more difficult and challenging for people living with some kind of physical infirmity, particularly those who need to use a wheelchair to help them in their mobility concerns.
Like everyone else, if you are physically well and fit and are not constrained by any kind of ambulatory issues, just try to imagine how you will be living your life amid the pandemic if you are using a self propelled wheelchair? Would you be able to do the things you normally do with ease?
If a wheelchair is a constant companion to you, proper care and maintenance should be your utmost concern. Now that there is a pandemic, you need to keep it safe from getting infected.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is giving us their recommendations and the best practices we should observe if we are a wheelchair user.
These measures are aimed at keeping people with handicap safe and secure against the novel coronavirus.
Carry your own personal sanitizer.
Whether you are a wheelchair user or not, the most effective, convenient and easiest form of protection you can have against the novel coronavirus is the use of 75% diluted alcohol for disinfection purposes.
You can divide the contents of a full bottle, and have them in much smaller spray containers so you can have your handy personal hand sanitizer. Carry it in your bag or pocket wherever you go.
On instances that it will not be convenient for you to wash your hands right away, a spray bottle of diluted alcohol would work wonders for you. Besides you can also use it to disinfect parts of your wheelchair that you or your personal caregiver will touch the most such as the joystick control ( for powered type of wheelchair), armrests, and push rims.
Another alternative you can take advantage of in the absence of diluted alcohol are sanitizing wet wipes or tissue wipes, ensure though that they have sanitizing effects when used.
Get used to wearing hand gloves.
Wheelchair users are also advised to learn how to wear and get used to wearing hand gloves. For doctors, medical professionals, and healthcare workers, since they are the ones who are in the frontline of caring for the sick (even if it is not for COVID-19), it is a cardinal rule for them to follow this by heart — wearing a pair of surgical gloves is a must when handling a patient and caring for the sick.
What we are dealing with is a global pandemic. Thus, we are encouraged to wear hand gloves and for proper cleaning of the same, we can use soapy water to wash it.
Washing your hand gloves with a disinfecting soap will help in exterminating microorganisms that may be present on it already. But if you need to access or leave a higher-risk area such as a hospital, the use of disposable gloves is highly recommended, which may come available in latex or pvc material.
Observe social distancing when you are outside.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention strictly advises the general public to observe social distancing when they need to get out of their homes. A minimum of 2 meters distance from the next person next to you should be observed.
If you are a wheelchair user, try to minimize going out of the house and stay home as much as possible. The tendency for wheelchair users is to be surrounded or get flanked by people around them in public areas. When this happens , it will increase your risk and susceptibility to get infected by the coronavirus.
If it is necessary for you to go out and you are wheelchair bound, social distancing is a must. When in public places, request people around you to observe their proper distance and thank them for doing so.
When it comes to cleaning your self propelled wheelchairs, it doesn’t really matter if you are doing the cleaning task yourself or if you are sending it back to the original manufacturer of your assistive equipment to carry out a professional disinfection work on it. Make sure though that you are cleaning those surface areas that you touch frequently.