10 Hot Weather Life Hacks To Keep YOU Cool
How to Stay Cool when You Have MS
Hot weather can make the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) worse. Many people with MS also have a sensitivity to heat and react badly to rising temperatures. If you have MS and are dealing with the heat, you may wonder how you can stay cool and comfortable. Start by adjusting your environment and dressing appropriately for the hot weather. You can also cope with warm temperatures by using cooling items and adjusting your daily habits.
Adjusting Your Home Environment
Invest in an air conditioner.To beat the heat, invest in an air conditioner and set it up in your living space. You may get a cheaper, portable model that you can set up in a room as needed. Or you may invest in a permanent air conditioner that cools your home. Weigh the costs against your ability to be comfortable in your home, especially if you live in a climate that often gets hot or warm.
- If you find air conditioners too noisy and expensive, you can try getting an air cooler instead. An air cooler works by drawing air through water. However, air coolers can be less effective than an air conditioner, especially in humid climates.
Set up an indoor fan.Floor fans and desk fans can be a good, cheap option for staying cool indoors. Set up floor fans in rooms you use often. Have desk fans in spots where you plan to sit and relax for long periods of time. You can also use handheld fans to stay cool when you move or walk around.
- If you find being indoors really hot and uncomfortable, try putting a bucket of ice in front of the fan. This will then blow cool air into the space and make it easier for you to cool down.
Keep your shutters or blinds closed.Draw the shutters or blinds and keep them closed throughout the day to block out the sunlight. This can help to keep the temperatures in your home lower and more comfortable. Then, open the windows at night to let in cooler air.
- Get in the habit of keeping your shutters or blinds closed during the day and opening the windows at night so your home stays cool and comfortable.
Dressing Appropriately for Hot Weather
Buy clothing in light colors.To stay cool outdoors, go for clothing in light shades, such as white, light blue, light pink, light yellow, and beige. Dark colored clothing can end up trapping in sunlight and make you feel overheated. Stick to pastels and light shades for your clothing as they actually reflect sunlight and help you stay cool.
Go for clothing made of natural fibers.Look for clothing made of natural fibers like linen, cotton, bamboo, and silk. These fibers will help to wick away sweat and keep you cool in the heat. They are also breathable, allowing you to feel more comfortable when hot. Buy tops and pants in natural fibers as well as socks and workout clothing.
- Look for workout clothing that is labeled “breathable” and is made of wickable fabrics. This way, when you workout outdoors or in a warm room, you can stay cool and comfortable.
Get a wide brim hat.A wide brim baseball cap or sun hat can be a great option for staying cool in hot weather. Look for a hat made of breathable materials like cotton, straw, or linen. Pack an extra hat in your bag so you have one when you are outside in warm weather. Get in the habit of wearing a hat as part of your outfits for a hot day.
- You can also carry an umbrella with you so you can use it on a hot day to stay cool.
- Sunglasses can also help you protect your eyes and make you feel less bothered by the heat on a hot day.
Using Cooling Items
Apply ice packs to your body’s pulse points.Your body tends to get overheated at certain pulse points, which are spots where you retain heat. Apply ice packs or a cool compress to these spots to cool down on a hot day. This will help to cool you down from the inside out. Your pulse points include:
- Your neck
- Your temples
- Your inner wrist
- Your inner elbows
- The backs of your knees
- Your inner thighs
- Your ankles
Wear cooling bands.Cooling bands, ties, and scarves contain a gel that can be pre-cooled in your freezer or refrigerator. You can then put the cooling bands on and wear them to help reduce your body temperature on a hot day. Some cooling bands give off a cooling effect that can last for a few hours or several days at a time.
- Put cooling bands or ties on your pulse points, especially if you tend to feel hot or irritated in certain spots on your body.
- You can find cooling bands and wraps online or at your local medical supply store.
Try a cooling vest.Cooling vests are designed to help keep your body’s core temperature down so you can avoid overheating. The vest absorbs your body heat and helps your body cool down. Wear a cooling vest for up to three hours under your clothing to help stay cool.
- You can also put a cooling vest on 30 minutes before you plan to workout so your body can cool down and not get overheated when you workout.
- There are two types of cooling vests, active cooling and passive cooling. Active cooling vests require an electrical source to operate the equipment that circulates air through the vest. Passive cooling vests are portable and have no electrical components.
- You can buy cooling vests online or at your local medical supply store.
Adjusting Your Daily Habits
Exercise earlier in the day or late in the evening.To avoid getting overheated, plan your workouts for the morning or late evening rather than later in the mid-to-late afternoon. The sun tends to get hotter during the day, making you more susceptible to overheating if you workout in the afternoon.
- You may create a workout plan where you wear breathable workout clothing and always exercise in the early morning. Set up a fan and a cool compress so you can cool down after your workout to avoid getting overheated.
Run errands after the sun sets.Much like exercise, it can be helpful to run errands after the sun goes down or before it comes up. This will help minimize the amount of time you spend out and about during the warmest parts of the day.
- If you have the means, you may even consider having things like groceries delivered so that you don't have to carry heavy bags around on very hot days.
Take cool baths or showers.Make it a habit to take cool baths or showers during the summer months to avoid aggravating your MS. Try not to take cold baths or showers, as this can lead trigger the body's warming response, which defeats the whole cooling process. Instead, have cool or lukewarm baths and showers on a regular basis.
- Take a cool bath or shower before you plan to go outside on a hot day. This will help bring your body temperature down and keep you cool when go outside. For example, you may take a cool bath before going outside to garden or to workout.
- Remember, if a shower or bath gives you goosebumps, it's too cold.
Drink lots of water.Stay hydrated on hot days by drinking at least six to eight cups of water a day. Put ice cubes in your water to keep it cold. Bring a water bottle with you when you are going outside so you can sip water throughout the day. Doing this will prevent dehydration and help you stay cool.
- You can also try adding fresh sliced fruit to your water to make it more appetizing. Put sliced lemon or limes in your water. Add cucumber or herbs like mint to your water to give it some natural flavoring.
Have cooling foods.Eat food that will help you stay cool, such as fruit popsicles, fresh salads, shaved ice, and gelato or sorbet. You can also try freezing bananas and adding them to smoothies for a cool, refreshing snack.
- Plain shaved ice can be both cooling and hydrating.
- Try having at least one cooling meal a day when it’s hot outside so you can avoid getting overheated.
- Avoid eating hot foods and drinks, such as coffee, as well as alcohol and sugary beverages.
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