A New Gift Helps Me Stay Cool in the Summer Heat
OK, I know I look silly wearing this — maybe even scary — but the Father’s Day gift I received from my son and his family is really cool, especially for someone with multiple sclerosis.
Just in time for the hot days of summer, I now have a neck fan. At the touch of a button, three speeds of “ah” surround my neck and tickle my ears.
For people with MS, heat can cause symptoms to worsen, so finding ways to stay cool is important.
The device is similar to others on the market, and they all work basically the same. A pair of fans rest on my shoulders and suck in air that is then blown out and up through slits in a headphone-like band around my neck. The air isn’t cooled, but even when the outside air is warm, it feels cool. The air band is charged with a computer USB port or a wall wart power supply, like the ones used with a smartphone.
These powered cooling bands cost about $50, but you don’t need to have something this expensive to cool you down.
For as little as $3, you can go online and find a colorful cloth bandanna to tie around your neck or forehead. Some people even wrap them around their wrists or ankles. Before going out, soak the bandanna in water, which will be absorbed by gel inside it. The bandannas cool well, but only for a short period. Some advertisements claim they can last up to four hours, but I tried one years ago and had to soak it again after about an hour.
Cooling vests generally have pockets with ice packs that keep you cool. One study showed that wearing one of these vests can help to improve your walking speed and distance when it’s hot.
You can buy these vests online, but if your income is below a certain level, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America will send you one for free.
Keeping cool — or at least cooler — during exercise is good, but some research shows that cooling down before exercise also helps. In one study, people with MS who cooled down before a workout appeared to have better use of their arms and legs while exercising, and they were able to exercise longer.
Of course, jumping in a swimming pool to cool down is also good. I love swimming and aquatic exercises. Some are specifically designed for people with MS.
So chill as best you can when the heat is high. There are plenty of ways to do it, in addition to a cooling fan.
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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.