TEMPERATURE: The ANS controls the body’s reaction to temperature and temperature changes. Heat and overheating are precipitators and potentiators. Heat reactions can range from mild / uncomfortable to deadly. Some individuals go into cardiac arrest at temperatures ranging from 72º up. Changing from temperature to temperature can also trigger dysfunctional autonomic responses, as the dysfunctional autonomic nervous system overloads or just fails to accommodate. Many react to cold / colder temperatures, although research indicates that sleeping in 70º or lower is better at reducing risk, provided that
conditions contributing to rebreathing are addressed [excess coverings, etc].
Comfort and visibility are important in some work environments, but teens tend to focus on attractiveness [“coolth”] and comfort, in that order. To encourage the use of these items, you should get your teen or other patient involved in making choices.
COOL VEST: heat protection. These vests can be worn over or under clothing. They use high tech methods to fight heat stress by cooling the core areas of the body. Most of them are adjustable and made of attractive, durable materials in a wide range of colors. Some people feel perfectly comfortable wearing the external vests; others prefer to wear those concealable under their clothing. A white concealable children’s cool vest weighs less three pounds, while most adult vests weigh around 5 pounds. Glacier Tek has some interesting products for adults, including armor vests, protective panels that keep sharp objects from damaging the cool packs [NailStop], high visibility and camo vests, and vests for dogs – which might be a good idea for your service dog if you live in a hot climate. Glacier Tek has recently produced a pink vest for breast cancer awareness. They do not sell head / neck cooling products because of the danger in cooling the head / neck without cooling the body’s core. Glacier Tek uses a unique “green” phase change material for their cool packs, while many other companies still use a chemical combination of crude oil byproducts which can present hazards – and which must be disposed of using hazardous waste material methods. The rechargeable cooling packs maintain 59º temperature for up to 2 ½ hours, and can be easily changed out while you immerse the first set in cold water to recharge them [about 20 minutes]. Child-sized vests are usually designed for 30 to 90-pound individuals. We recommend that purchasers acquire an extra set of the cooling packs in order to extend wearing time, so dysautonomics can enjoy longer periods of outdoor time and better interact with peers. A small to mid-sized ice chest / cooler is great for storing the second set, and recharging the first. For information or to order a cool vest, go to http://www.coolvest.com/ or search online for “cool vests.” Discounts may be offered; ask about them.