Potted orchid flowers in front of a window showing the seasons of the year, moving from winter to fall, autumn to spring, The flowers are thriving in fall and melting and drooping in the summer.

Reflecting on Seasons Changing and the Impact on MS

Where did the summer months go? This is the time of year when I regret all the things I didn’t do during the summer, but I really do appreciate thinking of the looming days of autumn. Truth be told, summer often flies away from me because I tend to stay indoors during hot days.

MS heat intolerance

My MS doesn’t like the heat, and is especially picky when it is faced with high humidity levels, making me particularly grateful I don’t live in the south or southwest.

The effects of heat and humidity on my body

All the cooling equipment in the world doesn’t help me when the temperatures soar into the 90s. My reaction time slows, as if that is possible with my already crawl-like pace. My body, thanks to the MS I believe, long ago gave up self-regulating in the heat, and I don’t perspire like normal people. Instead, my body traps the heat, making my MS symptoms temporarily worse.

Cooling off

Fortunately, exposure to heat and having our MS react to higher temperatures is only a temporary symptom, and the negative effect of heat stops once I get my body to cool off. This is true for almost everyone with multiple sclerosis who experiences heat-related symptoms.

Falling into autumn

Which brings me to autumn, the months when the leaves on the trees turn to amazing hues of gold and red, and the days are usually cooler. It is a season I look forward to and always wish it would linger longer before handing off the time to dark winter days and extreme cold temperatures. When the outdoor air temperatures drop, it makes breathing and moving easier and gives me a sense of relief to have made it through another summer season.

The pros and cons of the cooler months

The cooler temperatures make outdoor activities enjoyable and don’t require taking extra precautions, unlike the sweltering summer days. The tradeoff is the daylight hours grow shorter and by the time we reach the end of autumn, dusk arrives around dinner in my time zone. The lack of sunshine affects my mood, and I feel that drain and do my best to get outdoors for natural light during the day.

Even though I anticipate fall, it always seems to catch me by surprise when I wake to those first days of autumn that require more clothing covering than my summer wear. Sweaters and light jackets come out of storage, and I always hope they will still fit. After this past sedentary time, I think I best check out my wardrobe in advance this year.

What is your favorite season?

We each have our own favorite season, the one that makes our MS take a back seat and allows us to enjoy the outdoors. I suspect few of us with MS would select summer or winter as our top pick, and instead look forward to autumn or springtime. If you could pick just one season, which one would it be? For me, the answer is clear. I love fall.

Wishing you well,

Laura

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