How can I avoid overheating if I have multiple sclerosis (MS)?

It's easy to work cooling strategies into your life in order to avoid overheating. Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) find it invigorating to exercise in cool water, and schedule their swims for the early morning. Others find relief in a brisk shower or cold beverages. If you've noticed your symptoms get worse when you are warm, look for simple steps to avoid unnecessary heat. Instead of warming up your kitchen with a traditional oven or sweating over a stovetop, try cooking your dinner in the microwave or a toaster oven.

If lifestyle changes aren't enough, there are many cooling products on the market, including wristbands, neckties, hats and vests, which are available at a low cost. You can even make your own using inexpensive items found at your local craft store.

At home you set your own thermostat, but you can't always control your environment elsewhere, including your workplace. Because temperature sensitivity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) can bring on fatigue, as well as vision and coordination problems, discussion of your 9-to-5 environment goes beyond office politics—it's a matter of your health.

According to the Job Accommodation Network, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, there are several simple workplace accommodations that can be made if heat sensitivity is an issue. Among them:

  • Ask to reduce your work area temperature.
  • Use a cool vest or other cooling clothing.
  • Use a fan at your workstation.
  • Close window blinds.
  • Ask if it is possible to work from home during hot weather.
  • Request reassignment to a cooler environment.

Remember, symptoms brought on by temperature changes, whether because of hot or cold, are temporary. Some people find that the problems dissipate in minutes; for others it can take an hour or more. Pay attention to what triggers difficulty for you, and plan appropriately.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.