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  • TheAverageJoe

Staying Cool in the Summer: Tips for People with Multiple Sclerosis

Summer's sunny days and warm breezes can be a joy, but for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), the heat can be a real challenge. Especially here in Oklahoma where it can easily get over 100 degrees with no rain in sight.

MS symptoms can be exacerbated by high temperatures, making it crucial to find effective ways to stay cool. Here are some practical tips to help manage the heat and enjoy the summer season.

Understand the Importance of Staying Cool

Heat sensitivity is a common issue for people with MS. Even a slight increase in body temperature can temporarily worsen symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, and difficulty with balance. This phenomenon, known as Uhthoff's phenomenon, underscores the importance of staying cool.

AI generated image. A man standing under an umbrella on the beach in sunglasses
AI generated image. A man standing under an umbrella on the beach in sunglasses while holding a beverage.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Keeping hydrated is essential. Drinking plenty of water helps regulate body temperature and prevents dehydration, which can worsen MS symptoms. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and consider drinks with electrolytes if you're active or spending extended time outdoors.

Dress for the Weather

Choosing the right clothing can make a big difference. Opt for light, loose-fitting clothes made from breathable fabrics like cotton or moisture-wicking materials. Or even clothing designed to keep you cool, like Arctic Cool. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can provide additional protection from the sun's rays.

Stay Indoors During Peak Heat

The sun and it's relentless ray are usually strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. During these hours, it's best to stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces. If you need to be outside, seek shade as much as possible and take frequent breaks to cool down.

Use Cooling Products

Several products are designed to help people with MS manage heat. Cooling vests, neck wraps, and bandanas can be effective in lowering body temperature. These items are often lightweight and can be worn discreetly under clothing.

Enjoy Water Activities

Swimming or simply relaxing in a pool can provide excellent relief from the heat. Water activities offer a way to exercise without overheating, as the water helps dissipate body heat. Just ensure the water isn't too warm, as this can counteract the benefits.

Take Cool Showers or Baths

When the heat feels overwhelming, a cool shower or bath can provide immediate relief. Not only does it lower your body temperature, but it can also help soothe any discomfort from heat sensitivity.

Plan Your Day Wisely

If you need to run errands or engage in outdoor activities, plan them for early morning or late evening when temperatures are lower. This strategy helps minimize heat exposure and reduces the risk of overheating.

Create a Cool Home Environment

Keep your living space as cool as possible. Use fans and air conditioning, and close blinds or curtains to block out the sun. Portable air conditioners or window units can be particularly useful if you don't have central air conditioning.

Listen to Your Body

Pay close attention to how your body reacts to the heat. If you start feeling dizzy, nauseous, or unusually fatigued, take it as a sign to cool down immediately. It's important not to push yourself too hard, especially in high temperatures.

Stay Connected

Finally, stay in touch with your healthcare provider and support network. They can offer personalized advice and support to help you manage your symptoms during the summer months.

By taking these steps, people with MS can better manage heat sensitivity and enjoy the summer season more comfortably. Staying cool not only helps alleviate symptoms but also enhances overall well-being.

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