Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

MS or Not, It’s Too Darn Hot!

It is not much of a wild guess that almost everyone reading this would agree – it is too darn hot!  Short of staying cooped up indoors in air conditioning or sitting in an ice bath, there have been few ways to cool off in the eastern half of our country.  Our waistlines can only take so much ice cream as an instant remedy to the heat.

It was my good fortune that we had planned a vacation to the Pacific Northwest in early July, about the time the heat wave settled in and stayed quite a while in the Eastern United States.  Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, were both significantly cooler than the weather I left in Ohio, so much so by at least 30 degrees.  What a difference that distance traveled made.

The Pacific Ocean

While my traveling partner, my husband, shivered and complained about having this chilly location for vacation, I enjoyed every glorious moment in the cool air.  I felt great and I was able to do many outdoor activities that would not have been possible if I had been home in the 90+ degree temperatures. We dined outdoors more than once, sitting in the cool low 70’s heat.  I even dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean in Northern California – my companions laughed as I commented that my usually numb legs weren’t feeling the cold.

People with MS often have that problem called Uhthoff’s sign, a sensitivity to heat that creates havoc in our bodies when the nerve signal is corrupted by any slight increase in our core temperature. This can cause a temporary worsening of our symptoms, including our ability to walk and our vision. I am no exception – so a summer trip to the warm beaches of Florida are definitely not my first choice.

It wasn’t so long ago that doctors used a hot water bath to test people – if the hot water bothered the person there was a good possibility they would be diagnosed with MS.   Now, with these dog days of summer, a diagnosis of  MS might be made just by having us attempt to walk around the block.  I would make it about half-way and have to crawl the rest of the way home if subjected to the heat and exertion of these mid-summer days.

Now that I’m back home I resort to cooling cloths, ice packs and  pretending I am a vampire and only emerging outdoors after dark when the sun has set, in my attempts to stay cool and functional.  Hydration to stay refreshed is a double-edged sword – while I need the fluids to stay refreshed, that also expends energy with all the extra trips to the restroom. There are assorted tricks we all use to cool off in these hot times but that tiptoe through the surf of the Pacific Ocean was the most effective instant cooling I’ve ever experienced.

What tips can you share for ways to beat the heat? Of course there are plenty of ways we can try to stay cool these days, but for me the best one I’ve found would be to dip those toes once more in the Pacific Ocean.  The brrrrr! factor felt great.

Wishing you well,


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Laura, I’m not exactly sure what part of Oregon you were in other than the Coast, but in Portland most of July we have been in the mid 80’s to high 90’s. Today July 31st it’s 75 degrees. Thank Goodness for A/C!! With all the Terrible weather that the East has been having I just Cringe. I’m Glad that you got to Visit the Beautiful Pacific Northwest.


  • Marybeth
    6 years ago

    To all, I am new to the site and truly enjoyed the discussion regarding the heat and the humidity. The northeast has been horrendous. Thank goodness for ac
    and ice. I just stated Copaxone snd I can’t tell if it is
    causing weakness and symptoms or the heat and humidity.
    Anyway, looking forward to fall!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    6 years ago

    Marybeth, I hope it cools down for you. We’re getting a sneak peek of fall weather here in the end of July in Ohio. I’m loving the cool temps and sleeping with the windows open, although I don’t expect it to last. My guess from being on Copaxone for three years is it is the heat getting to you and not the drug. stay cool!!

  • MyMSWalk
    6 years ago

    I wrap a hard ice pack in a small towel and place it on my neck when I sleep. This has really helped me A LOT.

    I have a cooling vest from Polar products and wear that when I need it. I am very thankful for it.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    6 years ago

    that’s a great idea – does the ice pack bother you while you sleep? I would think it would be hard and uncomfortable. I don’t own any Polar products but keep looking at their website thinking I should take the plunge.

  • Sonya
    6 years ago

    I am so happy you had a good vacation! Sounds like a wonderful place!
    Your article brought a smile to my face,thinking of the euphoria of being able to actually function outdoors, & dip my toes in some cool water 🙂
    Outdoor time has been limited for me this summer, not only due to the humidity here in Georgia, but also all the rain we have had. Rain you say, would be a good thing in the summer. Maybe within reason; we are something like 17 inches above normal for the year, and with every rain comes higher humidity 🙁
    I received a cooling towel for my birthday last week, but haven’t even had a chance to use it. It’s one of those the athletes use, & I have heard really good things about them, but these folks don’t have MS, so I’m uncertain as to whether it will help in my situation. My neuro, thought it was at least worth a try, so who am I to argue 😉
    I am hoping this will enable me, to at least spend some time gardening, providing I do it early.
    We have been invited to accompany my daughter & her family to Jekyll Island on vacation this year. Due to the heat & humidity, as of yet, we haven’t made a definite decision. I pray I get to put that towel to good use, watching my grandkids play on the beach, while they are still so young♥
    Happy Summer, stay cool, & all the best to you,

  • Sonya
    6 years ago

    Thanks so much for the best wishes. I am really hoping to be able to go. We always rent a house, so I think I would be ok. Sounds as though your trip to Mexico was wonderful! My husband & I went to Cancun, 2 years before my diagnosis. It is such a beautiful place….the water was the most beautiful shade of blue 🙂
    Enjoy your summer & stay cool~

  • Lovelady102613
    6 years ago

    I went to Mexico last year and was concerned about the heat – but between staying in the shade, water or pool I surpringly never had a single issue. Hope you are able to make it to your vacation!!!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    6 years ago

    Sonya, give that towel a try and hopefully you will find it helpful. That is a crazy amount of rain and I understand the humidity – we often do humidity + temp combinations that reach a heat index in excess of 100. I hope you can figure out a way to enjoy Jekyll Island – if your family understands your limitations and doesn’t push you to do more, and there may be times you retreat to your room for the A/C, you might find it a good summer break.

  • Poll