Ok here is the scoop on heat.
Many people with MS have a problem with heat. This stems for the inability to well regulate body temperature. Heat in an MSer translates to abnormal nerve transmission. This is not perception, you will have a temporary exacerbation of symptoms. It takes an increase of only half a degree for the abnormal nerve transmission to occur. This can happen from fever/illness, or external heat exposure.
Avoid outside heat and sun, hot baths and showers and saunas or jacuzzis.
Cooling your core body temperature will return your symptoms back to baseline.
Exercise and fitness level can help in core body temperature regulation. It can also make you more tolerant of the heat.
Ok, here is the most important part - STRATEGIES:
* Keep hydrated - drink water or water based beverages, avoid alcohol and caffeine which will dehydrate
* Modify activities to coolest part of the day, or break up activities with cooling breaks
* cooling vests and scarves do work
* exercise in a cool pool (< 82 deg. F)
* pre - cool before exposing yourself to heat (cool shower, drink cold liquids, place cool packs or ice on neck)
* plan ahead - be aware of where you can get cool should you over heat
I had never thought of pre-cooling. If you can lower your body temp. that half degree, then you are buying yourself a bit of time out in the garden or at the beach or even in the shower. I was also interested in hearing that being more fit will decrease all heat related problems. Also, even though most cooling devices are vest types, the scarves may work better as there are more shallow blood vessels in the neck area. The speaker recommended pre-cooling with a scarf device (or some other cool pack on your neck) then maintaining that coolness with the vest.
Ok! Good luck! Sunny and I in California are looking at a major heat wave next week!! In my area we are looking at temps. to reach more than 105 degrees!!! I am not looking forward to that.
Gretchen co-moderator MS board diagnosed with MS July 2006