Hot weather and MS

I was sitting at home, with all doors and window shut and with the air conditioner doing its thing, to keep us all cool. The current outside temperature was 42.5%C and the inside temperature 26.4%C. Yes, I know, that’s hot! It is summer in Australia, so I guess we shouldn’t be that surprised. But Nature has been kind to us up until the past few days.

So when we get hit with these hot temperatures, it feels super hot! Ah, that’s because it IS super hot! When you have multiple sclerosis (MS), you are affected by hot weather more than you would be if you didn’t have it. Although, having written that, I’m thinking of a couple of people I know who have MS who love hot weather. I’m certainly not like them though!

I feel lucky, in fact I AM lucky, to have my husband (Graham) here with me. He’s also my carer and takes his carer role seriously. This means he’s taken on the role of being the main shopper for our family. This relates to fortnightly supermarket shopping, and also the weekly run into the Adelaide Central Market for fruit, vegetables and miscellaneous other bits of shopping. He’s also done almost all of our Christmas shopping, a job that I’m completely uninterested in. I just don’t get into shopping the way he does!

With MS, those afflicted can get some of their worst symptoms come back. Not all people with MS suffer with heat sensitivity, but more do than don’t. The effect from exposure to high temperatures has a special name: “Pseudoexacerbation”. An exacerbation is a relapse, so a pseudoexacerbation is sort of a ‘kind of’ relapse. 

When affected, the best and quickest way to get over it is to cool down again – damp cloth on face, drinking cool water and so on. I’ve only had one pseudoexacerbation, and that one was quite scary. I’d been out in my car for the day and drove home, feeling a little hot and bothered. I got out of the car and walked around to the other side of my car, opened the door and then collapsed. 

My mobile phone was in my handbag, which was on the passenger side seat, but my muscles wouldn’t work at all, and I couldn’t reach it. It was a relatively hot day, perhaps 35%C, and I was in the shade of the car, on grass, so it wasn’t stinking hot.

I knew my son would be coming home by bus sometime soon, although I wasn’t wearing a watch. I couldn’t be seen by cars driving past because the car was between me and the road. So I settled down to wait. I’m not sure how long it took for Jake to get home, but it would have been at least half an hour, possibly more.

I heard the bus pull up though, and got ready to get his attention. I knew he had to walk near me to get inside the house. I called to him, and he came over to me. He tried to help me up, but wasn’t strong enough. Our next door neighbour was called over and between them they got me up and then seated inside.
After some cold water and rest, I felt a little better, but shaken at the intensity of the whole thing. I don’t ever want to go through that again…

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3 thoughts on “Hot weather and MS

  1. carolyncordon Post author

    We’ve got some stinking hot weather forecast for the coming week in South Australia. I’m planning what I can do to keep cool and unaffected by the heat. Another pseudoexacerbation would not be a good thing to go through, I know that. I hope all of my friends in SA can keep cool, especially those with MS.

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  2. Michael Robinson

    Hi Carolyn
    Sorry about your hot weather, I’m afraid we sent it over from WA!
    My wife has MS and is also affected by extreme weather. On our recent days of 40+ all she (and I) could do was sit inside and try to keep cool. It was even too hot to walk a few paces out to the pool for a dip!
    I’ve passed on your blog site to her, so don’t be surprised to hear from her (her name is Marlene), and I’m now following you on Twitter. Just love social media!
    Mike

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    1. carolyncordon Post author

      Hi Mike, thanks for getting in contact. We’re surviving the weather by running the air conditioner and we’re all staying up the end of the house closest to the lovely coolness! It’s currently 25.4 inside, 45 outside. I’m not going out, I’ll only open the door to let the dogs out for a pee and then back in again. Yesterday I got in the pool for the first time this summer. My husband (Graham) and son (Jake) have been in a lot. I’m just not that into swimming pools. It was a welcome relief yesterday though. Getting out would be tricky without Graham to lend some balance … I’m feeling well enough on my medication – I’ve been on the Gilenya tablets for about one year. One tablet once a day is much nicer than one needle in the thigh muscle once a week. That was Avonex – I did OK on that, but I’m doing much better on Gilenya!
      Cheers, to you, and I forgive you for sending the weather, you didn’t have much choice in the matter – Nature does what it wants to do, and we just have to do our best to cope with it!

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