I am going to focus the next several blogs on tips for specific MS symptoms. Everyone’s MS journey is unique including the road to diagnosis, medicines, symptoms, and symptom severity. When a new symptom pops up, please contact your MS provider so it can be treated soonest AND determine if it is MS or medicine related. As my disclosure states, I am not a medical professional but I share what I have experienced with my MS.
OK, today’s focus is heat sensitivity. Mine is intertwined with humidity sensitivity. While it may be comforting to hold a cup of a steaming beverage, feeling like you are the steaming beverage is far from comforting. I started to cover outside factors in my Beating the Heat blog. Here I will address inside factors and expand on cooling fabrics.
I have used cooling fabrics to spend time outside and to be outside to get to an indoor event/appointment. I first tried Sports towels. These became too heavy and added to my struggle to move. I found Mission brand cooling items did not weigh me down and kept me cool. I have used the scarf, gaitor, baseball cap, and wristbands. To activate these items you soak them in water, wring them out, and snap pull them a few times. These can drip/drain/bleed onto other clothing over time – especially the scarf and the gaiter onto a shirt. I really like the wristbands as I am unlikely to wear long sleeves when I am also concerned about heat and humidity.
Indoors can create heat and humidity issues too. Kitchens, Bathrooms, rooms with sunny windows, aging HVAC systems, dirty air filters, temperamental thermostats, household members changing the thermostat, and your medicines all affect the indoor heat and humidity levels. A combination of these can really be frustrating. This is especially true if your heat and humidity sensitivity affects your mobility enough to make it difficult to leave the area or make a change to the heat/humidity level. Curtains, window blinds, window shutters, ceiling and exhaust fans can help a lot with sunny rooms.
In Kitchens, simmering foods, baking foods, running dishwashers, and countertop heating appliances can all increase the room’s heat and humidity levels. I keep sipping cool or iced beverages, try to shorten my kitchen time with quicker meal recipes, slow cooker recipes, and enlisting household members for meal help and unloading the dishwasher.
In the Bathroom I avoid showering and doing other long tasks when the sun is already heating the room. I also leave the bathroom door open to my bedroom during showers. I turn the shower water temperature down to my comfortable range to help prevent steamy conditions. I find timing these activities for my stronger time of day and when the sun has not been on the window for a while best. If it is light enough naturally, I will avoid turning on lights.
Thermostats and HVAC systems in general need to be kept in top condition. Change those air filters as recommended. Listen to the care tips when the technicians visit. Perform the given tips. Work with your household members to find a common comfortable temperature range. Will you still get anger influenced thermostat setting changes? Maybe. However, it will decrease and maybe eliminate the whim changes and encourage others to put on a sweatshirt or blanket instead.
Watch out for medicines causing a raised body temperature. I will admit this can be difficult to determine. I know this from noticing a decrease in body temperature and therefore a decrease in heat and humidity sensitive episodes when I had to stop a medicine. This falls into the category of is my symptom MS or medicine related or MS with medicine aggravated. Your body may change its reaction to a medicine over time too.
What are your favorite tips and products to beat your heat and humidity sensitivity?