Summer is coming! Here’s how to protect yourself — and your earnings

Apr 16, 2019

As temperatures finally creep up, freelancers everywhere are starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel. With the Spring and Summer months ahead, we can start dreaming of iced coffees, outdoor office hours, and even an occasional jog or run. In. Fresh. Air!

But while warm weather brings some much-needed relief from freezing temperatures and days-on-end stuck in our home offices, it also ushers in some hidden hazards — which is why disability insurance should be on your to-do list.

Unfortunately, there are many chronic conditions that can first manifest or worsen with the arrival of warmer weather. And, if you aren’t properly protected, these hot-weather surprises might just take you (and your business) completely out of commission.

Diabetics struggle in warm weather

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “people who have diabetes — both type 1 and type 2 — feel the heat more than people who don’t.” This sensitivity extends beyond mere discomfort, however: many complications associated with the disease, such as damaged blood vessels, can impact a diabetic’s ability to sweat. And since sweating is the body’s built-in cooling system, diabetics with damaged sweat glands are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke, even in non-heat wave conditions.

But the problems don’t stop there: diabetics are also more vulnerable to dehydration. When a person with diabetes doesn’t consume enough liquid, his or her blood sugar levels can rise quickly; this higher blood sugar level leads to more frequent urination, and feeds into a faster dehydration cycle. Additionally, many diabetics take diuretics to regulate their blood pressure, but these water-pills also accelerate the speed at which your body loses hydration!

Warmer temperatures can even impact the way your body uses insulin. If diabetics don’t adjust the frequency of their daily blood checks and adjust their intake accordingly, warmer weather can quickly send their blood sugar levels out of whack and into the danger zone.

Pain and heat can increase together

Diabetics are not the only ones who have to worry about their health in warmer weather. Individuals who suffer from chronic pain disorders may find themselves increasingly uncomfortable, or even unable to work, as the weather heats up.

While many people with arthritis feel worse when it rains or when the weather turns cold, pain levels can also increase with warm, humid weather.

For Multiple Sclerosis sufferers, an increase in body temperature — even a minor one associated with a hot day — can add up to a worsening of symptoms like muscle spasms as well as arm, leg and back pain. The same is true for many people with fibromyalgia — a chronic condition with symptoms that worsen with any change in the weather. Even frequent headache and migraine sufferers may find themselves debilitated during the summer months, as weather changes and dehydration can trigger either condition.

Hot weather risks

Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic condition, warmer weather may catch you off guard and interfere with your ability to work, by attacking your cardiovascular system. As people head outdoors and exercise more in the warm sun, a trifecta of heat, inflammation and dehydration can add up to some major problems, including heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event.

While proper attention to sun protection and hydration can help prevent many of these warm-weather complications, there aren’t any guarantees that your health will stay stable as the mercury rises. Want to make sure you’re protected and able to cover expenses, even if the heat puts you out of commission? It may be time to invest in disability insurance.

What does disability insurance cover?

Disability insurance is designed to replace a portion of your regular income should an accident, illness. or other condition prevent you from working for an extended or indefinite amount of time. If, for example, you were to suffer a diabetic complication that left you hospitalized, or simply too uncomfortable to work, your disability insurance policy would begin to provide a replacement income check as soon as 30 days after you first fell ill. Each month, you would receive another payment, until such time as you were able to get back to business.

While waiting periods will vary, and the payout you receive will be calculated as a percentage of your average monthly income, there is one universal commonality among all disability policies: should the unexpected arise, and your freelance income falls to nothing, having this kind of backup could mean the difference between losing your business and weathering an illness without fear.

At Freelancers Union, we offer long-term disability policies with both 30- and 90-day waiting periods. You are never up-charged for being self-employed, and gender is never considered when it comes to determining your monthly premiums.

Click here to find the right policy for you, or reach out to us at membership@freelancersunion.org with any questions.

Jordana White

Jordana White is a contributing writer for Freelancer's Union, and a full-time freelance writer in the health and wellness field.