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  • Writer's pictureMeridith O'Connor

My Top 10 Summer Essentials for the Chronically Ill During COVID-19

Living in the Midwest is no picnic in the summer. It’s hot, but the worst part is the humidity. The air is thick, making it extremely difficult to breathe, particularly for those who are chronically ill. With coronavirus limiting our ability to patronize public places (as it should), the only escape is being outdoors. But when it is muggy, the heat becomes too oppressive to enjoy nature, leaving us stuck inside. My apartment may be strikingly organized as a result of this, but in order to preserve my mental health, I have to get some vitamin D.

Nevertheless, I know that having myasthenia gravis means I have to limit my time in extreme temperatures; the heat tends to exacerbate symptoms. Like anything I do with MG, I have found ways to adapt. Check out my top 10 essentials for the chronically ill during this COVID summer:

1. The first product I love is a throwback. Evian Facial Spray is one of my secret weapons. The spray has kept skin looking fresh and hydrated with the purest mineral water for more than 30,000 years and is perfect for those hot sticky days when you can’t escape the sweltering heat. With a few spritzes, you will feel fresh, replenished, and polished with that new dewy glow.

2. The second product I like is more fitting in the midst of this unprecedented time, quite literally—face masks. Face masks are required in many places, but I dread having to wear one when it’s 90 degrees out. I’m really loving these stylish masks from Kitsch. The protective gear is simple yet fashionable and is made of 100% cotton. They come at a great price point as well; 3 for $12.00! If you are looking for something that is simple yet super effective, check out the masks from Mighty Well. The adaptive apparel brand created a pretty innovative mask designed for patients just like me. Some key features: antimicrobial, adjustable nose clip, moisture-wicking, anti-order, lightweight, soft ear loops, and water repellent! If that didn’t have you typing their URL already, another reason I like them is that they come in various sizes and you can either get one, a three-pack, or a five-pack. Well done, Mighty Well. Well done. (*Use code MERIDITHO10 to get 10% off!)

3. Next up is something I think we can all benefit from: hydration. I don't know about you, but sometimes I forget to drink water during the day. I also hate lugging around big water bottles that sweat, so I wanted to find something that was more conducive to my needs. These sleek glass tumblers from Amazon are on my wish list. The tumblers are glass but are protected with pretty silicone sleeves, making it easier to grip and avoid sweat. The tumblers can be used for both hot and cold beverages and are dishwasher safe. Adding to my cart right now!

4. Here’s a fun one: Have you heard of Minnidip? St. Louis native Emily Vaca came up with this genius idea. The luxe inflatable pool is designed as an “adult kiddie pool,” and is the cutest addition to your backyard. The pools have the greatest aesthetic; scalloped edges and pretty prints. They are made from non-toxic material and contain no lead or heavy metals and are super easy to inflate, drain, and deflate.

5. An easy way to stay somewhat comfortable during the heat is to throw on a hat. Seems obvious, I know, but thanks to my mom's younger days as a lifeguard, she always taught us to wear a hat when you can’t control the sun beating down on you. She learned the hard way; sun-sick with no protection. The Adidas Saturday hat is my favorite right now; it’s sophisticated, keeps the sweat away, and can be worn with all types of outfits.

6. One of the hardest things for me as a chronically ill person is getting in and out of a hot car. Most of the time I either avoid driving when it is too hot out or I run errands with a loved one so they can keep the car cool before I hop in. Nevertheless, being independent is important to me and I don’t want to have to rely on others or struggle my way through. Roll out the car shades…Retractable car window shades are a smart way to keep your car cool and protect you and your loved ones from the dangerous UV rays you are exposed to in the car. They are easy to install, can be used in a push of a button, and fit the majority of cars.

7. To all the 90’s kids: remember mini handheld fans? Turns out they are still awesome. You can find so many different styles and colors. Some even plug into your phone! Technology, man…I like this mini fan from Amazon because you can clip it on just about anything.

8. If only there was a way to combine the Evian spray with the handheld fan…oh wait, there is! This portable misting fan is a 2 for 1 deal. It’s lightweight, compact, and claims it can work for 6 hours!

9. If you know me, you know I love a good jumpsuit. You might be thinking, long pants in the summer; how is that helpful? This particular jumpsuit is one of my favorites because it is extremely versatile. You can wear it around the house to lounge in or as a swimsuit coverup, wear it to run errands, or you could even dress it up for a casual night out. This piece is mainly made of rayon and is unique in that the pants are slightly cropped, giving this jumpsuit a more relaxed, summer vibe. It is loose-fitting and can be super stylish if paired with a white cropped tank! Comfy and cute for the win.

10. And last but certainly not least is the adjustable clamp umbrella! This might be my favorite out of the entire list because it can be used for all ages and all mobility types. Strollers, chairs, wheelchairs, walkers—the umbrella allows you to be outside, in the shade, without having to sacrifice accessibility.

Being chronically ill, we all have to make sacrifices sometimes. Hopefully with these items though, you will find that you can still enjoy the summer season a little bit longer now that you have these tools in your back pocket. Stay cool!

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