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How to Deal With MS in the Winter

By Daryl H. Bryant (400 words)
Posted in Living with MS on December 7, 2016

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How to Deal With MS in the Winter

When you were a kid, winter was a wonderland. Nothing lit up your eyes like freshly fallen snow on a weekday - the promise of a day home from school. But now you’re a grown-up, and the world doesn’t stop for snow. Neither does your MS.

How to Deal with MS Sensitivity to Cold

Sensitivity to cold affects 20% of people with MS, and winter makes it worse. Cold weather may increase your pain and the numbness you feel. It can also decrease your mobility and energy. Thankfully, staying warm will help. Dress in layers. Surround yourself with space heaters, heated blankets, and heated slippers. Be sure you are using them according to directions. Carry hand warmers in your pockets; wear warm and waterproof shoes when you go outside. Worse than sensitivity to cold? Some people report feeling like they chill to the bone, and once the cold sets in, it’s hard to shake. The best cure for this pervasive cold is to take a hot bath. Keep refilling the water with hot water until your body temperature increases.

How to Deal with MS Mobility Issues

Ice is dangerous for everyone, and it can definitely compound any existing mobility issues. Make sure that you ice your sidewalks. Install handrails where they can be helpful. Ask for assistance if you need it. If it is icy outside, wear practical shoes with good grip. Your independence is important, but so is your safety. Don’t be afraid to admit if you are unable to go out because of weather, even if it is embarrassing. It’s more important to be safe than to save face.

How to Deal With Seasonal Depression

The holidays are a busy time, and depression spikes this time of year. Especially with the decrease in daylight, it can be difficult to maintain your optimistic attitude - especially if your body makes it difficult for you to keep up with the hustle and bustle. Take time out for yourself throughout the holiday season and cut back on activities that wear you out. Find ways to celebrate the holidays that don’t take a toll on your body, and find happiness in the things you still love about winter.

Just because you have MS doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the season. You can survive winter, and if you use these tips, you may just find that you are thriving.

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