Surviving Australian Summers

Summer is not my favourite season making me feel hot and tired. To put it simply, my disability means I can’t control my body temperature and I can’t sweat so have trouble dealing with the hot weather. I also have a light skin tone and burn easily.

When picturing the Australian summer I immediately think of the outdoors especially the beautiful beaches. Growing up inland meant it was a great treat to holiday at the beach, build sandcastles and chase the waves. I was never a fan of the feeling of sand, and aren’t much of a water baby but I appreciate the beautiful views and strolls along boardwalks.

I grew up learning to slip, slop, slap, and that no hat meant no outdoor play. I have tested the sun’s heat on many occasions and felt the pain of being sunburnt. On school sports days I would get burnt on the exposed skin between my shorts and my knees.

I am guilty of avidly researching the weather forecast before planning my day and often discuss the weather in regular talks with friends and family. I guess I learnt this from my Dad, a farmer. I try to avoid being outside during extremely hot days especially the middle of the day.

I grew up drinking tank water and using re-useable drink bottles when going out to stay cool and hydrated. Now it’s instinct for me to choose water as my drink of choice and carry a water bottle with me. Although clean water is considered to be tasteless I can also be known to be fussy with my water. When I studied at uni in Armidale the water had an off taste and so instead I bought bottled water. I also much prefer drink bottles with a pop-top rather than a screw lid because it’s quicker to use and there’s no need to take the lid off.

It’s hard to survive an Australian summer without eating delicious ice-creams. I stock up my freezer in preparation. Chocolate and rainbow paddle pops were the treats when I was a kid with the occasional bubble-o-bill. I much prefer fruit and plain flavours over chocolate flavours.

Sunscreen is a must and I was always encouraged to wear sunscreen. I have slacked off as an adult relying on the small amount of protection in my foundation and disliking the sticky feeling of sunscreen. I know that is no excuse and will force myself to wear it. I have found wearing light clothing to cover most of my body and a hat means I only have to apply sunscreen on the gaps. It’s worth it rather than feeling the burn.

My brothers and I would beg our parents to take us to the local public swimming pool or to friends places to swim. We even swam in the river not far from home. It was a bonus when we had the luxury of our own swimming pool and could invite our friends over for a swim. Being an indoor pool meant we avoided the heat of the sun and there was no need to wear sunscreen either.

Air conditioning is a great luxury. I survive the extreme heat best by staying indoors in the air conditioning wearing a t-shirt and shorts while eating ice-cream and watching TV.


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