The Heat Is On - Heat-Triggered Symptoms
Hello Readers! I am typing this post from blazing hot, humid-as-ever Houston, Texas! Just to
advise, people are NOT exaggerating when they tell you how hot this place really is. Although the DMV is pretty hot right now as well, I know that I can at least expect to feel a breeze here and there. The heat in Texas is stuffy and sticky enough to have you losing your senses which in my case is very possible. Those living with multiple sclerosis (MS) may face worsened symptoms when exposed to excessive heat. Naturally, this worries me. It worried me during a trip to King's Dominion where I felt like I was in a frying pan. It also worried me while I was on the beach in Miami this past April. The heat is definitely not something to be played with.
BUT SHOULD LIFE STOP BECAUSE OF IT? In the summer of 2014, I experienced heightened symptoms at random moments. This would typically occur after being in the heat for a long period of time. Thankfully, the heat hasn't had an impact on my symptoms since then but the fact that it can is scary enough.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? Heat can cause a temporary worsening of MS symptoms by slowing down the nerves' ability to function. While this does not cause any new nerve damage, it means that previously damaged nerves will transmit signals at an even slower pace. Symptoms may include numbness in the extremities, fatigue, blurred vision and in my case, slurred speech.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Every case of multiple sclerosis is different, therefore, I can't accurately speak on what will happen when someone living with it is exposed to extreme heat. I can't even speak on what will happen to me! I can, however, tell you to try your hardest and I mean YOUR HARDEST, to stay cool.
1. Don't walk, RUN to that fan or the building with the air conditioning!
2. Drink WATER (I'm still working on this one because I love juice and soda *bad habit i know)
3. Wear lightweight clothing (Typically not a problem if you like summer fashion as much as I do... I live for sandals and a good off-shoulder top or dress lol)
4. Choose cooler times of the day to venture out into the weather
5. TAKE BREAKS! If you do have to be in the heat for a long period of time, step into the shade or into the closest building for breaks. Heat exhaustion and worsened symptoms are more likely to occur if you've been exposed for too long. Periodic exposure to cool temperatures should surely act as a buffer.
I know it's hard. Who doesn't want to have a LIT summer? I definitely do. But, I also try to remind myself that there is a nothing LIT about slurred speech, fatigue and numb feet. So I'll be doing my best to have a LIT summer, just not in the literal sense (LOL). Basically, I'll be smart about it.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!
STAY TUNED AND STAY FEARLESS!