March 18, 2017

three penguins suffering in heat

Surviving Summer when you have Multiple Sclerosis

In Australia, we have just survived the hottest summer. Or perhaps, it just felt like that. Multiple days over 40 degrees. And the old, the ill and those of us with Multiple Sclerosis suffered.

So, what advice can we offer our US, UK, Canadian and other northern hemisphere friends?

  1. Be prepared. Now is the time for you to get cooling vests and neckties. This was the first year I used the cooling neckties and they were great. One in the fridge and another around my neck. A lot of countries are having power shortages - so what is your back up plan? Thick curtains and blockout fabric to keep the heat out. Is getting your own generator an option? What shopping centres or libraries are an option to just stay for the day.
  2. Know your limits. Is it heat in the 30s? Is it heat without a breeze? Is it the number of days in a row? Is it heat plus exercise. Know your limits and be prepared to say no or pull out or change it up so it doesnt affect your health.
  3. Stand your ground. The hardest thing is to say ‘no’, or ‘I cant’. If you are a Type A personality like me, the hardest thing to admit is our limits. Start preparing your family and friends now. ‘Yes, Id love to go but if it is going to be really hot, can we move it to …’ Remember, very few people like extreme heat, so if you lay it out for them now, at least they were warned.

Like anything with this stupid disease, some of us will be affected by the heat while others will just breeze through summer. Be prepared, know your limits and be prepared to stand your ground with yourself and others. And you will remain strong enought to survive summer.