Heat and Humidity’s Effects on My MS

Debi Wilson avatar

by Debi Wilson |

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Faith of the Mustard Seed

When I awaken and start each day, I feel like a hygrometer (a humidity-monitoring device). My body is so in tune to any rise in humidity that I can visualize a red line slowly climbing higher and higher.

With each rise of the red humidity line, I can feel my gait slowing and my inflamed legs growing a mind of their own. Every step feels as though I am treading through thick, high grass.

Merriam-Webster defines humid as “containing or characterized by perceptible moisture especially to the point of being oppressive.” It defines humidity as “the state of being humid.”

“Oppressive” is an excellent word to describe the effect humidity can have on our MS bodies. When heat and humidity collide, the stifling combination can send my body’s movements into slow motion, with a kick of pain added.

The increased pain appears as deep, burning cramp. It starts with my feet (most times) and works its way up my legs, and moves quickly to my arms and hands. Stretching helps the pain, as do homeopathic leg cramp pills with magnesium, and applying ice packs to the affected areas. That relief can be short-lived, so I then move on to massage along with lotion and over-the-counter pain medicine.

Humid conditions can also strike while taking a shower. But, if I stay aware of the water temperature and use an exhaust fan, the humidity can stay lower. Otherwise, my heat-inflated legs won’t move correctly to help me out of the shower.

Vocabulary.com describes what people usually mean when they use the word humid:

“People like to say that it’s not the heat that bothers them, it’s the humidity. They say this because when it is humid, or when there is a lot of water in the air, the heat feels hotter. It also makes wavy hair frizzy and straight hair limp. Air that is cold and moist is called damp, so when people talk about humid air, think tropical, as that’s usually how the word is meant.”

Fatigue also increases for me with heat and the humidity. Just when I think I can’t get any more tired, my body lets me know otherwise. Any ounce of energy I had saved is gone once the temperature rises. So if the forecast predicts hot temperatures, I plan accordingly. Anything that I need to get done has to be done in the morning; I reserve the afternoon for projects that can be done while sitting and keeping cool.

Having all of your energy drained is a scary place to be. I have thoughts such as, “Will I have enough energy to walk to the bathroom?” and, “Are my legs strong enough to make it to the kitchen for lunch?”

Being aware of the havoc that heat and humidity can bring to MS is half the battle. The other half is planning for it and enjoying your summer. Ease your life with MSby being aware and proactive.

Please join us at the MS News Today Forums and share how the heat and humidity impact your MS.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Sarah Fuller avatar

Sarah Fuller

I have to say that taking 100 mg (NOT mcg) of Biotin three times a day has given me my summers back. Heat intolerance gone! I can't recommend trying it enough 😀

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Sarah, That's awesome! I was on the Biotin protocol for a year, I felt better at first and then my walking started to decline, So I stopped it. I may try it again, how long have you been on it? Debi

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Michele Silverman avatar

Michele Silverman

Hi Debi - a question, do you think the biotin caused the walking decline? I would like to try the biotin as the heat really bothers me but I won't if it makes my walking worse. Thanks

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Michele, I don't think the Biotin caused my walking decline. I just think it was my natural disease progression and the Biotin didn't stop it. I am going to try Biotin again, I did notice some improvement with it. Plus, if it helps with the heat intolerance that would be great! Thanks for your question, Debi

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Michele Silverman avatar

Michele Silverman

Thank you so much! I will try it as well.

Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Good luck to us both, Michele!! 😊

Carol Welsh avatar

Carol Welsh

Any side effect Should? Does it help with the leg stiffness?

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

With Biotin, Carol? I wasn't aware of side effects when I was on it. With heat and humidity yes to stiff legs! 🙁
Thanks for your question, Carol! Debi

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Gia avatar

Gia

Thanks for the info. I am going to try it!

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Carole avatar

Carole

Hello Sarah, do you need a prescription for the Biotin? I would definitely like to try it. What are the side effects?

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Pat O'Connor avatar

Pat O'Connor

I'm still feeling (sticky skin-legs) heat intolerance in London on in October!
Where can I get 100 mg of biotin health stores only have 10000 mcg?
Do you go to the hospital for this?

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Maria Mouhtad avatar

Maria Mouhtad

since i was diagnosed with M.S o9/2017, my life was chattered. I suffer from many medical and psychological issues. I fight each day. I notice that i have no sexual life.Is this due to M.S ?

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Maria,
MS can be the cause of many issues, the disease is different for everyone. Your Doctor knows you and would be the best resource to answer your question. thanks, Debi

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Russ avatar

Russ

it is the fight of our lives...which type of m.s. did they label you with? i have a very aggressive type, and tho each of us have a unique collection of failings, for me, sex works, even helps my condition....

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Thanks for your comments, Russ!
Debi

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Zenda Trim avatar

Zenda Trim

Heat and humidity ugh. I hate it. In the UK now the weather is changing almost to a tropical climate. One day really hot then raining and sometimes I can close my eyes and think i am actually still living in Hong kong all those years ago.

I just feel drained and the fatigue is well overwhelming. I cant wait for the winter again lol.

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Summer is really difficult, that's for sure! Thanks for sharing Zenda! Debi

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Pauline Phelps avatar

Pauline Phelps

You must be joking! I live in Devon England and temperature today is 15 degrees centigrade. Not at all tropical!

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Lielie avatar

Lielie

I really hope my coldvest works in Bali😔

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

I hope it helps you enough also, Lielie!
Take care, Debi

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Dianne Welgan avatar

Dianne Welgan

Yup I am a walking human barometer when it comes to heat and humidity. I might as well CANCEL my day if its humid!!!!

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

So true, Dianne!!

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Dianne Welgan avatar

Dianne Welgan

Or maybe Im a human hygrometer!!!!!

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

😂

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Phil avatar

Phil

Bali, with MS? Good luck. It is a fantastic place, but the humidity is intense. Dry heat is not as bad, I gather. But everyone I know, with MS, feels drained, in this country, with a bit of heat. Got off the plane in Bali, and it was like a sauna!
At the time, pre-MS, it was fine. But I would not try it, now.

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Sorry to hear this, I feel bad for Lielie! Thanks for sharing Phil!
Debi

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Ana avatar

Ana

Wow! That's the catch! Humidity!
I can't tolerate the heat anymore and all the time looking for the cause of such exhaustion!
Thanks a lot Debi and all others!

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Yes, the humidity is the worst!
Thanks, Ana for your comments! Debi

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Rob Teer avatar

Rob Teer

I'm a 39 year old stay at home Dad, living with MS, to my 5 & 2 year old boys. I too had an awful heat tolerance, but I was NOT gonna raise 2 boys onside attached to TV or computer/tablet screens! So, I ATTACKED my heat tolerance 2 summers ago. I fell down, I bled, I puked, but I BEAT IT! I can now get as HOT & SWEATY as I want! It WAS NOT EASY, and I'm not suggesting that everyone with MS can do it. We can all do ANYTHING, if we have the Lord in our hearts.

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Good for you Rob, thanks for sharing! Debi

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Scott J Copeland avatar

Scott J Copeland

Interesting Rob,

I did the same to myself a couple weeks ago, I beat it for a day, but a week later I'm the same. maybe time for beat the heat round two....

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Margaret O'Neill avatar

Margaret O'Neill

My MS is very affected by extreme heat and increased humidity as well. I didn't know Biotin helped with Heat Intolerance. I took it for a while to address Alopecia. It helped. I will try it again. Thank you.

Reply
Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Margaret,
Thanks for your comments!
I hope everyone can continue and share more ideas on heat and humidity in the MS forums! We can help each other through this summer!
https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/forums/forums/topic/what-impact-do-heat-and-humidity-have-on-your-ms/
Thanks, Debi

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Lynn Nettles avatar

Lynn Nettles

I recently went to vegas and California and there was zero humidity. My ms symptoms decreased and I was able to get out in 97 degree weather without sweating. Best I’ve felt in 10 years.

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Julie Gould avatar

Julie Gould

This describes me exactly. At my last neurology appointment I expressed concern that my MS was progressing. My neurologist explained that it was extreme sensitivity to humidity causing Utthofs syndrome.
Clearly, it isn't extreme sensitivity as so many of us with MS are noting the same issues. I think our anecdotal reports should be taken more seriously. Humidity literally short circuits me.

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Julie,
Interesting! Thanks for sharing!
Take care, Debi

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"Aunt Jane" Harmon, OTR, retired

If you can just get to the bathroom (the one with the tub in it, if you have a choice) relief lasting a good part of the day may be moments away. Fill the tub with water as cold as you can get it; if you live in a hot climate where the water never gets colder than lukewarm in the summer, you may need to add ice. But not too much.

The idea is to create a storehouse of cool in those legs of yours so the more leg you can get into the water the more storage space you'll have. This is not like taking an "ice bucket challenge" from the bottom up. Too much ice will cause the surface vessels to seize up as your skin screams out in pain. A slower soak in cold water will help the entire leg to cool, giving you a great start to your otherwise hot-and-humid day.

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Great,"Aunt Jane," I'm sure lots wii benefit from your advice! Thanks, Debi

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Michele Silverman avatar

Michele Silverman

Hi Debi - Just an update - I started taking the biotin on June 23rd. I reached out to my neuro dr who gave the ok on 100 mg 3x a day. So far so good - no side effects. And I'm not sure if its psychological, but I actually have more energy. Not sure if it's power of positive thinking or the central air!

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Michele, Thanks for your update! I think your positive thinking is excellent!:) Continued, Good luck to you! Debi

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Michele Silverman avatar

Michele Silverman

Same well wishes to you! I'm so glad that I found this outlet to share my feelings. I can't begin to tell you how reading all of the posts makes me feel. Thank you

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

That makes me happy Michele! I am glad you found us as well! I would love it too if you would join us at the MS forums!
Thanks for your comments! Debi
https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/forums/

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margret avatar

margret

I am 70just diagnoised with MS, had an MRI, not sure what to expect I have all the symptoms that are said you experience especially the legs and heavyness and cramps, my eyes hurt my head feels like it is always something going on.
I could not get an appointment with the Neurologist until Nov., so I don.t know what to expect. Scared and worried

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Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Hi Margret, I’m sorry about your diagnosis,I know it can be scary! Keeping active, eating healthy foods and taking vitamin D3 are all important. I’m sure your neurologist will go over that with you when you see them. I hope you will join our forums https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/forums/ you can talk with others and ask any questions you may have. The best to you, Debi

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Vanessa Nogueira avatar

Vanessa Nogueira

Wow, I can’t relate to this at all!
I’m starting to believe I’m the only person in the world who likes humid heat way better than dry.
Here in Portugal it’s very dry and it gets very hot in the summer. It’s horrible! Most days, as soon as Instep outside, my vision starts deteriorating. It’s like you can’t sweat and there’s no relief, almost like you’re out of breath and I feel myself getting more and more dehydrated by the millisecond.

I was in Singapore and Malaysia recently and it felt a million times better. I sweat like crazy, but it didn’t feel like my insides were burning and textured like sandpaper, so that’s cool. Also, it took a lot longer and a lot of walking for me to even start to have symptoms.

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Kam s avatar

Kam s

Anyone has heat intolerance with itching all over with MS and any treatment that helps? Appreciate you comments.

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