How to stay cool in the heat for people living with MS

31 May 2017

We all need to look after our general wellbeing - be it through diet, exercise or lifestyle choices. However, this is especially important when you have been diagnosed with a long-term condition like multiple sclerosis.

The heat negatively impacts the wellbeing of 90 percent of people living with MS.

At the Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory in Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, we conduct research to identify practical and economical ways to prevent fatigue during hot weather or exercise.

We collaborate with laboratories in the USA and the UK to further investigate how individuals with MS regulate their body temperature. All of the research we conduct in Australia is funded by MS Research Australia.

We caught up with MS Research Postgraduate Fellow, Georgia Chaseling to identify the most practical and economical cooling strategies that people with MS can use to ease the negative effects of the heat.

Georgia was awarded the MS Research Australia Postgraduate Fellowship, and our laboratory, which is led by Dr Ollie Jay, received an MS Research Australia Incubator Grant to kick-start their research into this important area.

Here are the top 3 tips on staying cool in the heat when you have MS from our experts:

1. Have a cold drink

Drinking cold water can stimulate the cold sensitive receptors inside the body that make you feel cool. A study in our lab has shown drinking cold water during exercise can help extend time to fatigue by up to 30 percent.

2. Swill cold water in your mouth

Swilling cold water in your mouth has the same effect as drinking cold water by stimulating cold receptors in the roof of the mouth and tongue. This method may be beneficial for those who don't like drinking large amounts of water.

3. Sit in front of a fan and wet your skin

Spreading cold water across your face and arms using a cloth or sponge helps to cool your body down by evaporation without actually having to sweat. If you do this while sitting in front of a fan, you will feel the cooling effects more prominently.

Want to get involved in our MS research?

We are currently recruiting MS and control participants to volunteer in our research to further assess the benefits of different cooling interventions during exercise in the heat, and during passive sitting in the heat. All participants are compensated for their involvement in our research.

If you would like to help this great cause, please get in contact with Georgia Chaseling.

Contact: Georgia Chaseling

Phone: 0416 207 566

Email: 2d2e592750220d571426371b0f1b3f27010f0709250b173d5c5421141f563f