The summer months can be difficult for many people with MS who find their symptoms are worsened by heat. Cooling oneself down before, during or after activity can help to reduce the effects of heat and the problems that it can cause. Cooling techniques can range from cheap and simple ideas to more expensive equipment items. The following are a few suggestions.
- Have regular cold drinks or suck an ice cube or frozen pineapple chunks.
- Spray your face and wrists with a plant mister.
- This can be cheaply refilled from the tap at home. There are also commercially available sprays available from high street pharmacists that will stay cool throughout the day.
- Some people find eating makes them warmer, and so it may be an idea to choose salads and sip iced water while eating. A cooling dessert can help.
- When you take a bath or shower, start with tepid water and reduce the heat gradually.
- A floor or desk fan can help to keep the temperature down and the air flowing in a room. A hand held fan can be useful when moving around.
Cooling suits involve the user sitting next to a device that pumps coolant around the garment. Whilst these are very effective at reducing temperature, they are not portable and are also quite expensive.
There is a variety of relatively inexpensive scarves, ties and wrist bands that can be worn during day to day activities. These contain a gel or other substance that can be pre-cooled before wearing. Depending on the product, the cooling effect can last from a few hours to several days.
Cool vests incorporate cooling packs fitted into the lining of a waistcoat-like garment, keeping the torso cool.
A large, foam filled cool pad called the Chillow can be used as a pillow or a cushion.
Air conditioners and air coolers
Some people find equipment to cool rooms a great help during hot periods of the year, though there are a few points to be borne in mind before making a purchase.
Air conditioners use a refrigerant to lower room temperature. Permanent devices can be expensive, but there are cheaper, portable models available that can be set up where needed. Although very effective, air conditioners can be noisy, take up space and use a lot of electricity. As the process creates hot air, the device needs to be set up near a window so that this can be expelled.
Air coolers work by drawing air through water. Whilst these are much quieter than air conditioners and are also much cheaper to run, the cooling effect is less, particularly in humid conditions. To get the best from an air cooler it is worth investing in a more expensive model.
These details are supplied for information only, not by way of endorsement.
Cooling neck wraps
Kafka's Kool Ties (US supplier)
The Chillow is available from Soothsoft Ltd
Active MSers review of 13 cooling vests, none of them produced in the UK
Various cooling garments
Which? Magazine how to buy an air conditioner (subscription needed for full review of products)
Last updated: 15 June 2015
This page will be reviewed within three years