I was losing my audience to complain about the heat to--mostly because they were all outside “enjoying the weather” while I was afraid to even open the door and let in one muggy blast of air.
For those of you with multiple sclerosis who also suffer from heat intolerance, you know what it is like: Everything slows waaaaaay down in the heat, while a parade of MS symptoms marches through your body. Then, you get cool again and things come back into focus.
I had to take action so that I could walk outside to keep up the conversation about how much I suffered in the summer. I donned a neck cooler, armed myself with a damp washcloth and a blue ice pack wrapped in a towel. I actually spent a very comfortable hour out in the heat and now have visions of enjoying picnics and parks--all in the shade, of course.
To stay cool, try these at-home tips:
Neck Coolers: By far my favorite solution is making your own neck coolers by following the instructions found on the Operation Home Front website. A small amount of water-absorbing crystals actually used to keep plants moist get sewn into strips of fabric. After the cooler is finished, you soak it in water for up to 60 minutes until the crystals turn into gel and then store it in the refrigerator. The neat thing about these is that you can “regenerate” them by soaking them for just a couple of minutes and popping them back on--even while you are outside. My mother-in-law has made over 100 of these to send to our troops as well as me (although mine have a pink floral print rather than desert camo).
Blue Ice Packs: One reader uses the blue ice packs (sold at any housewares store) designed to be keep food in picnic baskets or coolers chilled. She reports: “They are sold in packages of two and I freeze them overnight. I wrap one ice pack in a towel and lean against it in a chair; it immediately lowers my body temperature, and then I can do something.”
Washcloths: Try this simple trick: Take ordinary washcloths, wet them, wring out the excess water and put each one in an individual, resealable sandwich bag. Store several of these in the freezer to grab as you are going out the door. A wet washcloth held up to the face or draped along the back of your neck can keep you going for a while, even after it isn’t cold anymore.
Spray Bottles: Evian makes pressurized bottles of water in different sizes specifically for spraying on the face. One reader suggests storing these in the fridge for a quick way to cool down. You can also try spritzing yourself with water using a clean bottle designed for misting plants.
Cooling Vests: For those of you who are serious about being outside for long periods in the summer, you may want to investigate making your own cooling vest. These vests can keep you very comfortable for several hours, even while being pretty active in hot weather. It seems that you can sign up for a free course on making a cooling vest, or you can buy the manual from www.keepingmecool.com for a reasonable price.
Of course, there is a large variety of personal cooling products available for purchase, including different types of vests, neck bands and hats. Some of them are outlined in my review of Top 10 Multiple Sclerosis Cooling Products.