Health Watch - The Summer Outdoors: MS and Heat

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about precautions to take so you can safely enjoy summer days outdoors. Everyone needs to be careful about protecting their skin and eyes from the sun and should stay cool and hydrated. Some people may have extra concerns in summer weather.

People with multiple sclerosis need to be careful about hot weather because the heat can cause MS symptoms to reoccur. Dr. Elliot Frohman, a neurologist and MS expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says heat, whether from hot weather, exercise, a fever or even drinking hot beverages, can bring back old symptoms like numbness, stiffness, weakness or vision loss. The heat doesn’t actually cause any additional nerve damage or set off an attack. It appears to slow the speed of nerve messages.

Patients can manage symptoms by avoiding situations where they might get too hot, like being out in hot weather, taking hot baths or showers or drinking hot beverages. 

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July 2010


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