People with MS can experience an increase in their symptoms when the temperature outside is hot, or if they become overheated. This occurs because a slight increase in core body temperature can result in impaired nerve conduction of the nerves that have been affected from the MS disease progression. It is important to note that heat related worsening of symptoms is temporary and does not cause a progression of the disease. The symptoms should improve when the body cools down.
How can you combat the effects of heat?
Staying in an air conditioned environment or cool space when the outdoor temperature is high can be helpful to minimize the effects of high temperatures. If possible, exercise in a cool environment versus outdoors. It is important to stay hydrated and drink cool fluids throughout the day.
Wearing lightweight and loose clothing when exercising can help to reduce the potential for overheating. Wearing cooling products such as a vest or headband can help during physical activities. Taking a cool shower both before and after physical activity can help regulate core body temperature.
If you start to feel overheated, products such as a cold compress, misting fan, cold washcloth, or spray bottle can help cool you down quickly. However, you do want to make sure you are avoiding excessive cold, as this can also increase MS symptoms.
Planning your day can be an important strategy to combat the effects of heat. Avoiding or limiting outdoor activities at the times when the temperature is hottest can help decrease temperature fluctuations. Make sure you have plenty of cool drinks and snacks such as popsicles available if you notice yourself getting warmer.
There are many strategies to help cool you down and avoid an increase in symptoms due to overheating. Working with a physical, occupational, or speech therapist can help you to identify which strategies will work best for you in the long run so that you can complete the activities you need to throughout the day.
Do you have questions about how Engage Therapy and Wellness in Syracuse NY can help you stay cool and improve your life with MS? Contact us at 315-810-2423 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your unique situation and see how we can help you live your best life!