Many people with Multiple Sclerosis suffer from heat sensitivity. Heat can actually cause symptoms of MS to temporarily worsen, recreating old flare ups! Doctors believe this is because the increase in body temperature causes the damaged nerves to fire even less effectively. Similarly, when someone with MS get’s a fever from an infection they can sometimes have a “pseudo relapse”, where old symptoms will flare up but then go away once your fever clears up. It only takes a couple of degrees increase to cause a whole world of issues in an MS’rs body.
For me just an hour or so in the heat can leave me feeling severely fatigued, nauseous, and I lose feeling and have numbness/tingling in the right side of my body. But I LOVE being outside in the sun so much! It’s great for my mental health, as well as the fact that I could use the vitamin D (I am also severely vitamin D deficient). I’ve developed a few tips and tricks to keep myself stay cool in the heat. So I don’t have to totally give up my time with my plants and dog outside!
- Stay hydrated. I always try to drink a lot of water, but when I know I am spending time in the heat I make sure to drink extra! I also pretty much never leave home without my water bottle anymore 🙂
- Take breaks. I try not to stay out in the direct sun for very long at all. Even if I am in the shade, and the temp is really hot, I make sure that I take frequent breaks in the air conditioning to make sure I don’t get too overheated.
- Sunscreen! I have a newly found passion for skin care. The two golden rules I have found are MOISTURIZE and PUT ON SUNSCREEN! Your skin will thank you!
- Stick to the shade. I try to adhere to this as much as possible. For example, yesterday when my husband and I went out to lunch we asked for a table on the patio but not in direct sunlight. We had to wait a little longer for a table, but the restaurant was happy to accommodate!
- My neck cooling “towel”. I got a cool little cooling device at this year’s Walk MS: Twin Cities. It’s basically a tiny scarf that you stick in the freezer and it get’s (and stays) nice and cold! I love to slap that baby on when I am gardening or reading outside!
Do you have any tips or tricks for staying cool in the summer heat?!? I would love to hear them!
Stay cool my friends 😉