How do you manage MS-related fatigue in warmer months?

One of the most common and also most debilitating symptoms of MS is fatigue. It affects many aspects of a person’s life, including mood, sleep, and overall quality of life.1 It is well-known that people with MS have a unique sensitivity to heat, and warmer temperatures correlate with the presence of neurological symptoms.2 There is also well-established link between heat sensitivity and MS-related fatigue,2 making it more common for people with MS to experience fatigue during the warmer months of the year. We asked our Facebook community if they experience more fatigue in warmer months, and how do they manage MS-related fatigue. Here is what several of our community members had to say:

I try to keep myself cool

  • I get one of several small towels I have soak it in water for my neck, face and top of my head and reload it at any water fountain or hose I find
  • Cooling vest
  • I carry ice packs in my pockets and carry a travel sized spray bottle with cold water to spray myself
  • I have a cool vest or use a cloth and wet it with cold rag
  • I carry a small damp towel in the spring and summer to help cool my head and face
  • I use frog-togg cooling cloths
  • Cool cloth on back of my neck keeps me cool
  • I use squirt bottles of fresh water to spray my face and feet to keep them cool during the hot months which helps tremendously
  • Wet bands that you put around your neck really help plenty of water to drink and air conditioners and fans
  • Air conditioner
  • I have to take cool showers

I consume cold food/beverages

  • Ice crushed Ice eating it slowly LOTS of it! Has helped me last several weeks.
  • I have found that keeping a cold drink with me helps tremendously. I cool myself from the inside out. I’ve water, ice tea, anything with ice – it lowers the core temperature. Popsicles work very well too

I try to combat fatigue by

  • I find exercise helps but it is sometimes difficult to shake the symptoms to get up to getting to exercise
  • Acupuncture and reflexology help too
  • I tend to get the most activity done in the mornings to mid afternoon
  • Provagil

Do you experience more fatigue in warmer months? How do you manage MS-related fatigue? Please post in the comments! Also, don’t miss Ashley’s tips for managing the heat with MS.

View References
  1. Induruwa I, Constantinescu CS, Gran B. Fatigue in multiple sclerosis - a brief review. J Neurol Sci. 2012;323:9-15.
  2. Marino FE. Heat reactions in multiple sclerosis: An overlooked paradigm in the study of comparative fatigue. Int. J. Hyperthermia. 2009; 25: 34-40

Comments

View Comments (8)
  • Angie W.
    4 years ago

    I just spent a long weekend in Palm Springs with friends, and found that applying peppermint oil to my neck throughout the day (in addition to drinking LOTS-O-WATER)really helped to keep me cool!

  • Christie Germans
    5 years ago

    If you are wondering how to get the discount on your energy bills, my recommendation is to explore your gas/electric provider’s website for discounts available for medical needs. Multiple Sclerosis will likely be listed in the “qualifying medical needs” list. Or, contact your neurologist’s office for help as I’m sure folks have asked about this.

    For anyone living in San Diego, simply fill out the Medical Baseline Application form, available on SDGE’s website: http://www.sdge.com/residential/save-medical-baseline/medical-baseline-program. Return the completed form certified by your doctor (MD or DO only, no physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners). It was super easy for me and my neuro did not hesitate to sign the form. And, you might be able to save an average of 30% on your bill!

  • rbtstewart@att.net
    5 years ago

    Wearing long sleeves and a hat when I’m outside in the summer helps. Sweating is nature’s way of keeping you cool so long sleeves can absorb perspiration and keep you cooler. I also try to limit my outside experience to 15 or 20 minute episodes with rest in between. Sometimes I spend an hour outside over the course of a day. But, I’m lucky. It usually never gets too hot in TN.

  • ThisBSMS
    5 years ago

    Christine,
    What program is this program that give you AC bill discount?

  • Aubri328
    5 years ago

    Living in Florida I “cold” is maybe a week out of the year. While many people consider that lucky, heat is something I battle. With a daughter in softball and a husband that umpires, checking out of life isn’t an option. My cooling vest combined with LOTS of water, (mixed with Gatorade)and catching those signs early are what has kept me new lesion free since 2004! I fight fatigue by having the biggest family understanding- if I need a nap- I’m taking one. It happens!

  • chris
    5 years ago

    i try to stay in the ac as much as i can….try to do anything i have to earlier in the day..gave up riding my harley due to my balance and the heat….so stay cool and enjoy what you can…..

  • Christie Germans
    5 years ago

    Seeing that we are in the middle of a major heat wave (100 degrees), I am uber aware of the heat and its impact on my life. I typically get hit hard with fatigue. AC is the only way to go. And, bonus! I get a discount on the electricity bill due to my MS diagnosis. Stay cool, everyone!

  • Nick
    5 years ago

    @Christie, I hope this isn’t to intrusive but where do you live that gives you a discount on electricity due to your MS? I need to get on that program my self as the bills due to AC in the Texas summer are rough.

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