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How Weather Affects MSers

By Daryl H. Bryant (425 words)
Posted in Living with MS on November 17, 2016

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How Weather Affects MSers

Have you ever noticed that your MS symptoms get better or worse depending on the weather? You probably shrugged it off or told your friend who made you feel crazy, but it turns out that weather can wreak havoc on your body when you have MS. Read on to learn how weather affects MSers.

How Hot Weather Affects MSers

Over half of all people with MS are sensitive to heat. A tiny increase in the body’s core temperature may bring on weakness, difficulty balancing, or vision changes, depending on the person. These symptoms may be troubling, but they rarely lead to long-term nerve damage. Still, if you plan on being outside or working in a warm building, you need to find ways to stay cool. You may want to use cool rags, fans, or air conditioners to make your space cooler. There are also cooling garments which will help you stay cool even in the warmest temperatures.

How Cold Weather Affects MSers

Sensitivity to cold is less common than heat sensitivity among people with MS, but it still affects about 20% of all MSers. Cold weather may increase pain and numbness and/or decrease mobility and energy. This may be compounded by the lack of daylight available which causes many people to feel depressed. There are plenty of ways to stay warm when the winter cold gets you down. Dressing in layers is a good place to start. Space heaters, heated blankets, and heated slippers may also help. If you are unable to warm up, take a hot bath until your body temperature increases.

Does Weather Affect My MS?

If you think temperature may be playing a role in your MS, use a tracker to track your MS symptoms and the weather over a period of time. In addition to tracking temperature, you may want to consider tracking barometric pressure, humidity, and solar flares. Although these elements have not been proven to affect MS symptoms, many people with MS report that they do. You may be surprised at what you find. Once you determine which things cause an increase in symptoms, you can work to combat them.

Of course, every person’s symptoms are different. Some people with MS report that heat and/or cold decrease their symptoms. Just because weather affects other people certainly doesn’t mean it will affect your MS. The key is to get to know your body and adapt to it. By working to understand the complex factors that play into your MS symptoms, you will be better able to combat them.

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