Ways to Stay Cool With Multiple Sclerosis

Try MS cooling vests, misting fans, neck wraps, and more

Young woman sitting at desk with fan
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms may become worse when the body’s temperature increases—this is called the Uhthoff phenomenon. In fact, even half of a degree is enough to start feeling unwell.

Cooling your body may give you relief from your MS symptoms. Aside from taking an ice cold shower and blasting the air conditioning, there are a number of cooling products you can use to keep cool outdoors as well as during exercise.

These products help make the summer months more tolerable for people with MS. Finding products to help cool you down can be difficult, but there are several great options out there. Learn about the different types of products that might work for you.

Cooling Vests for MS

Cooling vests are one popular means of cooling the body for people with MS, as well as athletes and those who work in very hot environments. These vests can vary from simple designs using ice packs to complex vests that require batteries.

Some of the most promising designs use special fabrics that prevent the body's temperature from rising. Consider whether your goal is to lower your body temperature or prevent overheating before you pick one out.

Ice Pack Vests: These vests use simple, re-freezable ice packs that are put into compartments in the vest. The effect can usually keep you cool for a few hours.

  • SteeleVest: This simple vest uses ice packs to keep you cool, and the effect lasts for two to four hours.
  • Silver Eagle Outfitters: These vests use evaporation to cool the body. You just need to add water and it's ready to wear.

Evaporation/Chemical Vests: These vests use water or chemical reactions to absorb heat. Evaporation vests work best in low humidity settings. Chemical vests do not lower your temperature as much as the ice pack style.

  • First Line Technologies: Developed for firefighters and other professionals, these vests use a chemical compound that absorbs heat at 82 F. To charge, just leave in a room with a temperature below 82 F. The effect lasts about four hours.
  • Arctic Heat Cooling Vest: Also using a chemical compound, this vest cools without having to use the freezer or batteries. It comes in a wide variety of sizes.

Active Cooling Vests: These vests use motorized devices to keep you cool for a longer period of time. Some require both water and ice. These are the most effective in cooling the body but can be bulky.

Pools

Swimming is one of the best exercises for MS because the water keeps your body temperature low. Endless Pools has size-efficient pools that function like a treadmill for swimmers. Of course, a cool bath or shower, or simply running cold water over your wrists can be equally refreshing and much cheaper than purchasing a pool.

Misting Fans

Misting fans can lower the temperature outdoors by more than 20 degrees. This can be a great way to use a patio, deck, or pool area during hot weather without having to suffer increased MS symptoms.

These systems spray mist that cools through evaporation. You stay dry, but the air is cooled. Many restaurants use these systems.

Cooling Clothing and Accessories

Cooling scarves, pillow cases, neck and wrist wraps, and headbands can give you mild-to-moderate relief from the heat. Polar Products has a nice selection.

MS Cooling Resources

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) has a program that distributes cooling devices to people in need. In addition, the MS Cooling Foundation is dedicated to educating people with MS on the benefits of cooling. They have resources and links to other cooling products.

A Word From Verywell

Remember, while the heat is uncomfortable and may worsen your MS symptoms, it's not permanent. As soon as your body cools down, your symptoms should go away.

In addition, sometimes very simple measures are all you need to beat the heat and feel well. These include wearing a hat and loose-fitted cotton clothing, opting for the shade, and drinking cold water regularly throughout the day.

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