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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use a hand fan. People will think you’re either super exotic or just super hipster.
- 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.
- Spritz cold water on your face. Dump that bucket of water you’re carrying over your head. Supermodels do it.
What tricks do you use to stay cool?
You can also read articles I’ve written for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society here!
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