July 16, 2008

Heat and MS

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , , , at 5:29 pm by melissasummers

With the temperatures climbing above 90, I fantasize about climbing inside my refrigerator.  Hey, my little man that takes care of the light has been on vacation for the last month, which leaves room for me!

While heat can drain most people, those that have MS are very sensitive to the warmth.  Any symptoms that had been present, are worsened or magnified when the body temperature rises.  July weather, baths and even a fever can  cause this to happen.  Long before diagnostic technologic advances were around, MS was diagnosed by placing a person in  a warm bath to see if symptoms would increase.  Honestly, sounds more comfortable than being crammed into the shaft of the MRI tunnel!

While the heat can raise the feelings of weakness, being removed from the heat source will let the symptoms recede.  So to combat the heat I have in my arsenal the following:  Several cooling scarves in which absorb and retain cool water for a couple of hours (think running around in a wet swimsuit feeling), Cooling sandals that are kept in the fridge until ready to wear.  As nice as these sandals sounded, they only stay cool for about 30 minutes.  I also have a pillow cover that can be soaked in cool water and should work similar to my scarves.  As for how well the pillow cover works, it is new and I have yet to try it.

There are also vests available to keep MSers cool during the summer.  Some contain cool ice packs and other more advanced models actually pump and circulate cold water through channels in the vest.  These vests are more expensive than the items I already own, however if my heat sensitivity ever increases, I definitely will look into getting one.  Then again…Dad, you have an extra pond water pump?