Although the summer season has not officially come to an end, it’s that time of year again that reminds us to try to soak up what’s left of the summer sun. Though it may feel like the height of the summer season is passing, the heat may linger and stay well into September/early October as it has in the past. When this occurs we get to recapture the remnants of summer joys. If you like this season be sure to get out and embrace what’s left, because when you start seeing school supplies and Halloween decorations displayed while browsing in stores you know fall is just around the corner. Although for some the end to summer is a sad occasion, for others, especially those affected by the heat, it is a time well appreciated. So while it is not quite yet the official end of summer, time reminds us that seasons change, so enjoy what this season brings!
For many individuals with MS, the summer can be a difficult time. The heat and humidity may cause MS symptoms to flare and become agitated because of heat affecting one’s body temperature. For some who experience a worsening of symptoms in warm environments, this may actually be an example of a pseudoexacerbation. A pseudoexacerbation is a temporary worsening of MS symptoms, without the presence of actual myelin damage or inflammation. Other than heat, individuals may experience this as a result of other illnesses or infection. It is important to take note and be aware of what symptoms you are experiencing, how long they occur, and your environment surroundings. If you find yourself heat-sensitive, try to avoid warmer settings. Stay in air conditioned places, do outdoor activities either early in the day or after sunset when the temperature is cooler, and wear lighter weight clothing when needed. If you have concerns about or are experiencing new symptoms it is important to be aware of your activity and surroundings, especially during these warm summer months!
For more information on pseudoexacerbation, see the MSAA brochure, Understanding and Treating MS Relapses, http://mymsaa.org/publications/understanding-treating-relapses.