As summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, so does the heat and humidity. For many of us who live with multiple sclerosis, the summer brings with it difficulties due to heat-sensitivity. When the body becomes over-heated (regardless of the cause), it can cause a pseudoexacerbation or temporary worsening of symptoms. An elevation in core body temperature of only one-quarter to one-half degree can impair the ability of demyelinated nerves to conduct electrical impulses, commonly causing a feeling of weakness, fatigue, visual disturbances, or other symptoms.
It is important to remember that heat generally produces only temporary worsening of symptoms and does not cause more disease activity (demyelination or damage to the nerves themselves). Pseudoexacerbations are an uncovering of older exacerbations and the symptoms are generally reversed when the source of increased temperature is removed.
I am heat-sensitive and often make use of a variety of cooling techniques to deal with the increased difficult functioning in the summer.
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Keep Your Cool: Strategies and Equipment to Help You This Summer