It is the dog days of summer. No one knows this better than the MS crowd. The hotter it gets, the harder it gets on the MS population. There have been a lot of blogs that touched upon this subject lately, so here is my two cents. It’s all scientific. A study conducted by Uhthoff in 1890, showed that temperature change exacerbated vision changes with patients with optic neuritis. If a person with Multiple Sclerosis gets overheated due to weather, exercise or even a fever, then that MS patient can experience a pseudoexacerbation. This means that a person with MS will experience a temporary MS flare up due to an increase in body temperature.
Did you know that one way to combat pseudoexacerbations brought on by Uhthoff’s Sign is to eat an ice cube? It’s true. It will cool you to the core and give you temporary relief from the flare. The National MS Society offers other suggestions of how to manage heat intolerance. When I was working at the neuroscience clinic, I saw patients have all kinds of homemade remedies. One patient cut strategic holes in a windbreaker jacket and inserted those blue ice packs.
Now I’m not vain, but I’m probably not going to sport a homemade cooling vest. So that got me to thinking about a solution that would reduce my internal thermometer without making me a fashion outcast. That’s when I stumbled upon Coolture. When I found this site, I was impressed by the story of the founder. Van DiBernardo was a former shoe designer for DKNY when he was diagnosed with MS. He then dedicated his life to making products for MS patients. Now he’s made a cooling vest that even I could wear without drawing attention to myself.
I’ve been wearing a Coolture vest for the past few weeks, and I can honestly say that I haven’t had a summer this good in years! I hate that MS has made me sit inside missing everything during what used to be my favorite season. I have plans to go to an outdoor concert tomorrow night (this is a BIG DEAL!) – temp. here is supposed to hit 90- I’ll be rocking the vest!
Wondering what the cost of the vest is?
First let me say that no matter which cooling vest you use, JUST KEEP COOL! Keeping healthy this summer is your key to keeping healthy this winter.
Visit our website for more details. Based on fabrics, construction, and effectiveness, our cooling vest is truly in a league of its own.
Thanks for asking, and again — just keep cool!! And thanks to Matt for such a terrific blog post!
Hi Diane! I’m not sure the cost, but I believe it is listed on http://www.coolture.net/. Hope that helps!
Hi Luanne! Thank you for the compliments on my blog. Keeping healthy in the summer as an MS patient is a challenge. It is nice to know that a company like Coolture is working to help solve that problem!
Great information Matt! As a PT, and serving many patients with this diagnosis in the 80’s and 90’s when there was more mystery then medicine on the topic at times, I recall advocating for an in window air conditioner for one of my patients. Having the ability to be cooled while outside is entirely more creative. Individuals with a passion to solve problems will always be the more innovative, especially when it is their own problem to solve. Excellent resource. Thank you. I’m passing this page along.
Thank you Darlene! When I was first diagnosed, I always wondered why PT’s put me in the cool pool. There was heated pool for everyone else and a cool pool for us MS patients. Now I know why. I just wish I could cool down my pool in Arizona!
Matt you identify one of the most important considerations of self management of symptoms in MS. Understanding of the relationship that the body’s core temperature (heat) and the loss of myelin around nerves contributes to nervous system conduction defects that produce the all too familiar symptoms. Individuals adequately equipped with this understanding and some common sense can re-animate their lives.
May I quote you on the Coolture FB and/or Blog?
You sure can quote me, Luanne. I appreciate you spreading the word!
I’ve got to admit, the oppressive heat in Arizona is starting to get the best of me. It’s been over a hundred every day since June and I am getting more and more fatigued.