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Living with MS

 

Beat the Heat

You CAN ...

You don't have to be defeated! Learning to minimize the effects of heat is the key.

 


Overheating can aggravate a multitude of symptoms. Increased fatigue, weakness, and visual disturbances are just a few of the problems that may occur when the body's interior temperature rises.

This may happen when the mercury climbs on a hot summer day. It can also occur during exercise or exposure to any hot environment anywhere.

Summer day illustration

 

 
 

Some common minimizers are:

glass of water

Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Water is the fluid of choice.
  • Drinking cool water can help keep you cool.
  • Avoid caffeine as this acts as a diuretic.
 
Also of interest...
 

Use fans, air-conditioning, even hand-held spray bottles.

Shower
  • Air-conditioners can be tax deductible with a document from your physician

Exercise in a cool environment.

  • If you are exercising outside, pick the cooler times of the day, usually early morning or evening.
  • If exercising inside, using air conditioning or a fan can help maintain body temperature at an appropriate level.
  • Exercising in cool water (recommended temperature 80-84 degrees) is an excellent way to combat heat during physical activity.
Aquatics Class
Group pool work at
the Heuga Center

Wear commercial cooling garments such as vests, headbands and neckbands — many athletes use them.

Hat
  • A simple damp towel can be helpful, if you do not have one of these products.
  • Traditional wide brimmed hats and light-colored loose clothing also help.

Try “pre-cooling” to decrease the heating effects of exercise. Pre-cooling may increase the time it takes for the core body temperature to rise.

  • Get into a bathtub of cool water. The water temperature should be comfortably lukewarm to start. Continue adding cooler water over a period of 20-30 minutes.
  • Submersion of the upper body in cool water will provide the optimal benefit.

A cool bath or shower can also help reduce core body temperature following activity or exposure to a hot environment.

Bathtub

So, don't be discouraged by the heat of the summer months. Find the strategies that work best for you, because YOU CAN beat the heat!

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These tips brought to you by The Heuga Center, promoting health and creating hope for people with MS for 20 years, and by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Contributing editors: Brian Hutchinson, PT, President, The Heuga Center; InsideMS Magazine.

You CAN! is brought to you with the help of The Heuga Center as a reminder that despite the challenges MS may bring, you have a whole life to live.
We encourage you to visit You CAN! regularly. Topics change every other month.

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Additional Resources

Pool class

Aquatics (Overview)

Pool water

 

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