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