7 Wintertime Tips to Help Manage MS
- by Teva's Lift MS Team
- October 09, 2017
The cooler weather is slowly rolling in. While some look forward to the change in seasons, when you’re living with MS, the changing temperatures may affect your symptoms and affect your lifestyle.
Seasonal issues, such as worsening of symptoms, are commonly reported by those living with MS. The summer heat can spur a temporary worsening of symptoms, but there are different considerations as the cold sets in. For some, spasticity may be aggravated by extreme temperatures. Others might have a hard time distinguishing cold from numbness, another common symptom of MS. Depression is another invisible symptom of MS that is sometimes felt seasonally. As always, it’s important to reach out to your health care provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
This edition of Tips and Tricks is here to provide you with MS-focused ideas to help you get through the cold winter months. Leave a comment and let us know how you manage your MS in winter. We might feature your idea in a future Facebook video or blog post.
- Give yourself extra time. The roads and sidewalks might be icy. Plan extra time so you can move slowly to help avoid slips.
- Manage holiday stress. Holiday schedules can be demanding. Try these tips from one of Teva’s patient advocates Melissa to help cope with the stress of the season.
- Hand warmers. Doctors believe that MS can cause blood vessels in your hands and feet to overreact to the cold temperatures. Protect your hands, and your feet, from the cold with hand warmers.
- Bundle up. Depending on where you live, the weather might get very cold. Wear warm layers to avoid the chill. Also, pay attention to your body to understand if your numbness is a result of the cold or a worsening of your MS symptoms.
- Avoid overheating. Don’t overdo it when trying to stay warm. While a hot bath might sound nice, just a slight rise in body temperature could cause a temporary worsening of MS symptoms.
- Emergency car kit. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends creating a winter car kit so you’re prepared to handle your MS in case something unexpected happens.
- Track your symptoms. Make note of any seasonal changes you experience with your MS. It is important to keep your doctor aware of any changes in symptoms. Use these tips from Neurologist Dr. Pardo to make the most out of your next appointment.
- Give A Lift. Brighten the holidays by spreading joy and MS awareness. All you have to do is find a Lift you love and share it with your loved one. Search #GiveALift on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see how others are getting involved.
If you’d like to see more, check out our tips for your day-to-day life, ideas for everyday living and ways to cope with holiday stress with your Care Partner. You can always watch Tips & Tricks videos by visiting the Lift MS® Facebook page.
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Raquel Rawls | October 21, 2017Winter is the worst for my ms
Kathleen | October 24, 2017I get frustrated when I start out doing something then have to lay down before project is finished because of extreme fatigue & other symptoms
Barbara | November 09, 2017Daily caregiver for our daughter with Secondary Progressive MS and she has the Faith to move a mountain and our continued inspiration.
Thank you for your tips, common sense I assume but we don't always think about necessities for comfort and survival.
Teva's Lift MS Team | November 10, 2017We’re so glad to hear our community has been helpful to you, Barbara. You’re part of what makes this blog great!
Andrea | November 28, 2017I can handle the heat in the summer better than the cold in the winter time I hurt more than ever. I have a really hard time walking tend to walk really slow. Some times I can't sleep and sometimes I want to stay in bed. I manage to get up everyday though. I'm thankful to God every single day for being here and helping me every single day.
Teva's Lift MS Team | November 29, 2017We appreciate that you took the time to share, Andrea. Best wishes!
Debbie | November 30, 2017Wonderful article. The spasticity in my legs and feet are suddenly worse. I have a heated mattress pad, a heated blanket for sitting, and one in our vehicle. Another problem is my hands can’t stand any cold. I never thought of a hand warmer.
Teva's Lift MS Team | December 01, 2017We’re glad you liked this, Debbie. We hope you’ll check back often for new content!
Ruth | December 13, 2017You have to be very careful with those hand warmers. I had a painful ankle and had run out of my thermacare heat wraps (the shoulder one is excellent for ankles), so I used a hand warmer on my ankle. What I wound up with was a painful ankle with a painful burn on it.
The only other thing I can suggest is staying warm if you are (like me) prone to an increase in spasticity during cold weather.
Teva's Lift MS Team | December 14, 2017Thank you for sharing with the community, Ruth.