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Beat the Heat

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You Can...Beat the Heat

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 such as saunas and hot tubs.

Some common minimizers are:

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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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!

Contributing editors: Staff, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

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