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Staying cool in summer

1st December 2021

People with MS often experience a reaction to heat (or increased heat) called Uhthoff's Phenomenon. The heat can make MS symptoms worse temporarily, but effects of heat will pass and you should feel better once cool. When you're experiencing a reaction to the summer heat, try these cooling strategies to bring your temperature down.

Cool your insides and stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your body temperature down so aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres a day. Freeze your water bottles so you always have cool water on standby or suck on an ice cube, ice block or frozen fruit chunks. Some people find eating makes them warmer, so try salads and other cold meals or sip iced water while eating.

Cool your body from the outside

Wet a towel, or wrap ice packs in a tea towel, to hold against your body. Spray yourself with cool water and have a cool bath or shower. Wear lightweight, loose clothing and avoid dark colours.

Use cooling products such as cooling neck ties and cooling vests. We can help you find the right cooling garments, small cooling aids and bed cooling systems to suit your needs. The MS Society stock a range of cooling products available for purchase or you can shop direct from the suppliers online at arcticheat.com.au, personalcoolingproducts.com.au and technicheanz.com

Keep your home cool

Use a fan, air conditioner or evaporative cooler. Keep a small personal fan nearby to cool your face and body when you’re on the move, and keep curtains and blinds closed during the heat of the day.

You could be eligible for discounts on your energy bills with the Medical Heating and Cooling Concession. To find out if you’re eligible and to apply:

Stay out of the heat

Plan your day to make sure you don’t need to go out during the hottest parts (usually between 10am and 3pm). Check ahead to make sure the place you’re visiting has air-conditioning or consider shopping online or using a delivery service. Remember that parked cars can become quite hot, so try to park under cover and use a windscreen shield. Cool down the steering wheel with a wet cloth or have someone turn on the air conditioning before you get in if possible.

Exercising in the heat

Exercise during the cooler parts of the day such as early in the morning or in the late afternoon. Choose a cool or shady environment, exercise gently and rest often. Cool your body down before you exercise with cold drinks, a cold shower or by spraying yourself with cool water. Have a cold water bottle with you and take regular sips as you exercise.

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Staying cool in summer