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Summer Heat and MS

by Patricia

I was diagnosed with MS in December. My Dr. said I most likely had it for awhile. I noticed last summer I could not take the heat & I was running the air conditioning more than usual. This summer has been unbearable.

I stay in air conditioning at work, car, & home. I noticed I am having a lot more symptoms such as numbness in my legs & arms. I have an overall weakness & I am more tired than usual (if that is possible- I have been tired most of my adult life).

Is this normal for the summer time? Our weather has been extremely hot so I make sure I am hydrated & in a cool place. Does anyone have any more ideas or suggestions?

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Aug 02, 2011
Heat and MS
by: Cir and Akrista

Hi Patricia,
This answer is from the both of us.

Cir - Patricia, that is one of the things that most MSers have to deal with (sensitivity to heat). So yes, in answer to your question, this is normal for us. Symptoms can and do get worse during this time of year.

First, take B 100 complex 2/day. This will help your central nervous system - If you don't take anything else, do this. I have had MS for all of my adult life - symptoms started in my teens. This has helped to sustain me over the years as far as symptoms not being so bad and overall progression is concerned. I tend to bounce back quickly and have had very few relapses since my diagnosis back in 1992. And I'm 52 now.

Now back to the question, I'm not sure if you are on any of the MS medications, but I take Copaxone - 1-800-887-8100 (Shared Solutions). They send me these scarves filled with little bead-like things. You put it in cold water and then wear around your neck during the summer. It helps keep you cool for about 5 to 10 hours.

Akrista - If you don't take Copaxone, though, you may be able to get them from other places, like through the NMSS (National MS Society). If you aren't a member, you should call them and become one. They have many resources that you can take advantage of at no or low cost. We found this out years ago.

They also have a Loan Closet, where they keep DME (durable medical equipment) and other things that MSers may need. Ask about a cooling vest. It's a vest with gel packs that you freeze and then slip into pockets. This especially helps if you're going to be outside for any length of time.

You are doing all the right things - staying in air conditioning, staying hydrated, and in cool places. Another thing you can do is plan your most physical activities during the cooler part of the day. I know that may be difficult if you work and have a family, but do your best.

The heat can cause fatigue (your extreme tiredness), even without MS - it does me. With MS, managing your symptoms, becomes an absolute necessity. You have to find what activities cause your symptoms to worsen and do things so that they won't get the best of you and cause you to have a relapse.

Plan less strenuous activities during the cooler times of day. Rest when you feel tired. Learn to delegate if this is possible, so that you can rest when you need to. Take cool showers when you're not feeling tired. Plan enough time to do activities that do tire you out so that you have rest time before going on to something else.

Like I said earlier, you are doing most things right already. Hopefully these few suggestions will help, and others will add their tips also.

Take care,
Cir and Akrista

Aug 02, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank you both for your good advice. I am on Avonex - injection once a week. I will up my B100. I have only been taking it once a day - I will start taking it twice a day.

I will check into getting something such as a cooling vest or something that goes around the neck. I get so overheated at times that the back of my neck can be completely wet.

I love your site. There is a lot of good information. Thank you again!

Feb 27, 2012
heat & cold
by: Anonymous

I have MS and I'm 70 years old and I love heat, it's the cold that bothers me. I have been really lucky because the only thing that bothers me is my left foot is numb, and I tire easily. I hope I can keep going for a long time,

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Cir & Akrista

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