Staying Cool While Still Looking Cool

Hey everyone! I hope your summer is fun and relaxing! How has your weather been? It’s been so hot and humid over the past two weeks where I live and it’s only going to get worse over the next few days.

All I can think about lately is a story I’d recently read about a woman named Sarah (I don’t know her last name, unfortunately, but I shared her story on my Facebook page about a month or so ago).

Sarah was outside in the heat and her MS symptoms got the best of her. For those not in the know, there is something called Uhthoff’s Phenomenon, which is the worsening of neurological symptoms (urinating urgency, lack of balance, fatigue, pain, issues with concentration, spasticity, etc.) in demyelinating conditions (such as MS) when the core temperature of the spinal cord rises. This can be brought on by exercise, saunas, hot weather, hot tubs, fever, or other over-exertion. As the body temperature rises, nerve impulses are lessened or even blocked.

This is what happened to Sarah. She didn’t have the strength to seek shelter in the heat. Despite being put on life support, she wasn’t able to pull through.

It made me realize that the vague and ominous “complications of MS” that we don’t talk about are very real and indiscriminate.

I do my best to stay cool. I stay indoors, mostly, or in the shade when I’m outside. If I’m dancing at an outdoor event, I drink a lot of water, carry a fan and parasol, and really listen carefully to what my body is telling me.

Despite taking these simple and intuitive precautions, I still find myself being victimized by my confused nerve endings. Lately, I’m more fatigued than usual, I think. And my limbs, particularly my left arm and sometimes my legs, feel…heavy, like they’re not mine. I’ve noticed I’ve gotten a little clumsier than normal, as well (and I have the scraped knees to prove it!). My dogs–even the less perceptive one–have noticed the slight change.

FullSizeRender
She only sleeps around my head during times of relapse or when I’m just going through a particularly rough (ruff?) patch.

Thankfully, I know this is temporary and strictly weather-related. For me, it seems to happen around periods of any type of extreme weather, no matter the time of year. Luckily, we’ll see a bit of relief in our midsummer weather next week and I can go back to my regularly scheduled “normal” symptoms.

In the meantime, here are some tips to stay cool this summer, while still looking super cool:

  1. Wear a large floppy hat. Not only will you shield yourself from harmful UV rays, you’ll be showered with compliments from people who just cannot get over how elegant you are.
    Breakfast-at-Tiffanys_Audrey-Hepburn_black-hat-sunglasses
    Me.
  2. Drink a lot of water. Carry the largest water bottle you can find. Drink water out of a bucket, if you can. It’s all the rage in Milan.water
  3. Show off that skimpy summer wardrobe. Not only will you stay cool with fewer layers, but–if you’re like me–you’ll have a clear walking path in front of you wherever you go, while everyone around you shields their eyes from the blinding paleness that is reflecting off of your legs. gondor
  4. Use a hand fan. People will think you’re either super exotic or just super hipster.fan
  5. Rub an ice cube against the skin on the inside of your wrists. It’ll keep you cool and make your skin look fresh and dewy.ice
  6. Spritz cold water on your face. Dump that bucket of water you’re carrying over your head. Supermodels do it.
    eau-froide
    So posh.

 

What tricks do you use to stay cool?

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You can also read articles I’ve written for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society here!

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6 thoughts on “Staying Cool While Still Looking Cool

  1. Anna Connors

    I use this fabulous necklace. It will definitely keep you cool for up to 3 hours and looks absolutely cool too. This is a revolutionary way to stay cool! Just visit this website:
    http://www.nano-ice.com If you choose to order use the code BEATTHEHEAT for free shipping!

    Like

  2. Susan Lesperance

    Cat, I can offer you a suggestion for staying cool at night…especially for those with no access to air conditioning. The product is called a Chillow Pillow. It keeps your head and neck cool allowing the rest of your body to adjust and allow you to sleep. http://chillowstore.com/ This is also what i love about your blog…sharing knowledge to enable a better quality of life. Keep on doing what you do…it is making a BIG difference in so many lives. xo

    Like

  3. Sally Kuhlman

    Thank you, Cat, for another extremely informative blog. This particular blog will help all individuals faced with health conditions affected by weather. You have given us this information with your beautiful sense of humor. You are an amazing woman filled with strength, courage, hope, and faith. Stay cool Cat . . . Love, Sally

    Like

  4. Kristen

    What a perfect day to be reading this as the high is supposed to reach 106 here in So Cal! Days like this I will stay in my air conditioned house and relax. BTW you can also qualify for discounts through your electric and gas companies. Just have to have your MD sign a form. I had to laugh at your comments regarding blinding people with our pale skin. Any tan I’ll ever have now and in the future will come from a bottle!! Love your blog! Keep em comin!

    Like

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