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How to Manage Your MS in the Harsh Winter Weather

January 2, 2018

When you’re living with multiple sclerosis, no extreme temperature is really ideal. High heat is unbearable and can exacerbate symptoms, but little do some know, so can those very low temperatures. Depending on where you live, your winters could be packed with snow and below freezing temperatures.  

Cold weather can cause symptoms such as muscle cramping, stiffness and tightness, as well as worsen the dreaded MS hug [http://www.basichomeinfusion.com/blog/Archive/Fascia-Free-Yourself.html]. MS patients have also reported feeling more fatigued throughout the winter months, which could also be an indirect result of coping with those muscle-related symptoms. The limited sunlight and sun exposure could create lower vitamin D levels in MS patients, which can negatively impact the levels of relapses and disease progression.

Luckily, we have a few tips to help you manage your symptoms when the winter weather hits.

Keep your hands and feet nice and warm

Doctors believe that MS can cause blood vessels in your hands and feet to overreact to the cold temperatures. Always remember to wear gloves or bring them along with you and wear thick socks or insulated shoes that can protect your extremities from the cold. You can also try bringing hand warmers or a heating pad with you when you know you’ll be out in the cold. 

Consume warm foods and liquids

Tea, coffee, soup…’tis the season, right? Up your intake on hot foods and liquids to warm up your body from the inside out. If you’re on-the-go, pour them into an insulated mug or thermos to keep them warm for an extended period of time.

Don’t overdo it on the heat

As mentioned before, MS and extreme temperatures don’t exactly mesh well. Make sure you don’t overdo it on the temperature inside your home or go crazy with hot baths and showers, even a slight rise in body temperature could cause a flare up. Make sure you balance a good medium temperature that is comfortable for your body and your symptoms.

Take advantage of sunny winter weather

When the sun is shining and it isn’t too dangerously cold outside, spend as much time as you can outside in order to expose yourself to some much-needed vitamin D. This will help keep your symptoms to a minimum, as MS has been linked to vitamin D deficiency in various studies. It will also get you some nice fresh air and keep you moving; further helping out that muscle stiffness you may experience throughout the season.