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Summer Heat may Worsen MS Symptoms

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Multiple Sclerosis  related image Andres Rodriquez/PhotoSpin

Previous recent research suggested that MS relapses are more likely to occur in warmer months, and some people may have more MRI-detected active MS brain lesions when temperatures climb.

The National MS Society recommends these tips for easing the effects of the summer heat:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned environment during periods of extreme heat and humidity. (If an air conditioner is needed to help minimize the symptoms of MS, the cost of this equipment may be tax deductible if the physician has written a prescription for it.)
  • Keep cooling products available such as vests, neck wraps, bandanas, etc. when exercising or participating in outdoor activity. These products should be used to cool before and after physical activity.
  • Wear lightweight, loose, breatheable clothing.
  • Icy drinks such as “slurpees” or popsicles can provide cooling temporary relief.
  • When exercising indoors, use an oscillating fan to keep from becoming overheated.
  • Opt to exercise in a cool pool where the temperature is less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and Scuba enthusiast living in San Diego, CA with her husband and two beach loving dogs. In addition to writing for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in newspapers and magazines around the world.

Sources and patient information:

Heat and Temperature Sensitivity. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Online at:

Uththoff’s sign-decreased vision with exercise. Vision Update. Dr. Jay Stockman.

Warmer outdoor temperature is associated with worse cognitive status in multiple sclerosis. Neurology March 27, 2012 78:964-968; published ahead of print March 7, 2012, Victoria M. Leavitt, James F. Sumowski, Nancy Chiaravalloti, and John DeLuca.

Add a Comment1 Comments


I can definitely see this anecdotally amongst friends and patients who have MS. They seem to labor more in the heat of summer and symptoms seem to be more pronounced. But we get real heat out here. Although humidity is fairly low.


May 29, 2012 - 1:28pm
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