MS is Bananas! Seven Strategies for Staying Cool with MS this Summer

It is that time of year again. Outside my door right now is currently a scorching 104 degrees Fahrenheit! Every demyelinating fiber of my being wants to get out of the desert right now, but where am I going to go? Summer has arrived and with it, my vision is a bit more blurry and fatigue is winning the battle. I’m having to try twice as hard to do everyday things

I am not alone. I wrote in last summer’s Cool Fashion: MS and Heat blog, that there is scientific evidence dating back to the 1890’s correlating mini-flare ups with the heat index. So if you are experiencing symptoms of MS due to the heat, here are seven strategies that I have incorporated into my life to beat the heat this summer!

Seven Strategies for Staying Cool with MS this Summer

  1. Stay hydrated. When it gets this hot, I have a tall glass of ice water near me at all time. Drinking the ice water cools me to the core providing temporary relief of my symptoms.
  2. Wake up early. During this time of year, I walk Ted, my dog, at sunrise. This is the coolest time of the day, so I can get in some exercise before the sun wreaks havoc on the day.
  3. Stay in air conditioned spaces. During the day when it is the hottest, I try to stay in the air conditioning. If I have to leave my house or office, I start my car and let it run for a minute to cool down the inside of the car. The heat effects my vision, so having a cooled-down car helps me be a better driver.
  4. Get a personal misting fan. Walmart has a personal misting fan for under ten bucks. Get one of those and fill it with water, if you have to go outside when it is hot it is a portable fan that you squeeze and it squirts a nice mist providing an instant cooling blast.
  5. Wear cooling clothes. There are different adaptive clothing products that you can adapt to add cooling packs. My favorite is the Coolture vest. The reason that I love Coolture is because it was created by Van DiBernardo, an MS patient and DKNY designer, for MS patients.
  6. Cool down quick with a Popsicle. Use MS as an excuse to have Popsicles, Slurpees or Italian Ices. These water based desert drinks and treats will cool you down fast. Ice cream will cool you down, but a side-effect of diary is fatigue.
  7. Eat Bananas. A banana is an astringent food, meaning that consuming foods like bananas causes your tissue to shrink allowing for the absorbing of more water which cools your core. Bananas, grapes and beans, believe it or not, all contain this astringent quality which will help cool you down. There are many cooling foods that are good for you too. Here is a recipe for making a frozen banana treat!

These seven strategies are how I stay cool during the Arizona summer. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a great book for summer reading is, The Dog Story. Eight years ago this month, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and The Dog Story shares my personal diagnosis experience after losing functionality from the waist down. Today, my dog and I walk two miles a day and to see me you would never guess I had Multiple Sclerosis. Part of my success is due to acclimating to my life and deploying strategies to like the seven listed above to do the best I can with what I’ve got. Even if it is 104 degrees out there!

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9 Comments

  1. Karen Rarey

    I love to walk, but as you said heat is our enemy. I had one bad experience and I’m scared to go out by myself in the day for walks. Mornings are hard for me – hard to get going, to wake up. Do you experience any of this in the mornings, and if you do do you just push past it to go out for your walk? ~Karen

    • Matt Cavallo

      Hi Karen,
      Thanks for the comment! During this time of the year, I have to get out at sunrise. It is hard for me to get going, but I force myself to do it and push past the morning fatigue. Once the sun rises, it gets too hot too fast. Luckily, the wet nose of my dog, Ted nudges me out of bed. I have a single cup coffee maker and make a cup when I’m getting dressed. I also try to chug a glass of ice cold water to wake myself up. Then, I walk with my dog and my coffee. Once the routine is established, the sting of the early morning wake-up fades away. On the flip side, I find myself going to be earlier to make up for the early wake up time. My kids are little and go to bed about 8:30, so I usually try to go to bed after they do. Hope this helps!

      Take care,
      Matt

  2. Shirley

    I just received my Coolture vest on Saturday! I read the instructions and I will be preparing for my first use of it.
    I got my first cooling vest in 2002 and it weighs 8 lbs! I am so excited that this one weighs less, is more “stylish” than my other one and the technology of this one is interesting.

    A frozen banana sounds great!

    Thanks for the ideas!!

    • Matt Cavallo

      That is great Shirley! Let me know how the vest works out. Van DiBernardo created these vests because of the reasons you mentioned. He is a tremendously talented designer. Enjoy your frozen banana treat!!!

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