For people with multiple sclerosis, overheating is a health threat

Hot, humid summer weather can be uncomfortable for anyone, but for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) the heat can cause the recurrence of MS symptoms.

“Heat – whether from infection, air temperature, prolonged exercise or even consuming hot liquids or foods – can provoke the return of old MS-related symptoms such as numbness, stiffness, weakness or even vision loss,” says Dr. Elliot Frohman, a neurologist who directs the Multiple Sclerosis Program and the MS Clinical Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Researchers believe the heat can slow down the speed of nerve messages for people with MS. Heat alone does not cause a new attack or any additional nerve damage, Dr. Frohman says.

“Most patients can manage their heat sensitivity by avoiding situations that could be dangerous such as being out in severe heat without assistance, taking hot baths or showers, ingesting ice-cold beverages and, in some cases, drinking hot liquids like coffee and tea,” says Dr. Frohman.

Media Contact: Aline McKenzie

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