It Will Be Here Before You Know It…Read this Summer Prep Guide!

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

Living with multiple sclerosis demands we must always have a plan. This is certainly true when preparing for life’s seasons. So if you’ve survived a long, dark, rough winter, pat yourself on the back, because it’s time to think about summer!

Here are my must haves/dos for a kick-arse summer. I don’t want you to merely “survive” it. I want you to have fun, be free, and ENJOY it. Aim high!

Look for Heat Warning Signs

Heat. Heat. Heat. It’s in the sky, on car seats and between layers. No, it doesn’t go away, but there are ways we can control its impact on our bodies. Any extreme temperature can send our MS symptoms into a tizzy. Some of my friends struggle most in the winter while others, myself included, struggle most in the summer.

So, how can you tell when heat is getting the best of you? Look for warning signs like loss of energy, irritability, headache, nausea and lack of appetite, increased memory fog, and excessive sweating, or a total lack thereof. And if you feel dryness on your face, and bits of what feel like salt…blame it on the heat, too.

The last thing I wish for you is to finding yourself in a sticky situation. So let’s get prepared for the new season and all that comes with it!

Cool Your Core with Nutrition: Most of us are always looking for external ways to stay cool, but remember it starts within. Start your day, and maintain it, with cold fluids that cool your body’s core temperature down. Prepare. Keep a cooler in your car if necessary to stash cold fluids. Also, many people living with MS say they are too hot to eat well in the summer. This is a dangerous practice because it contributes to the fatigue. You must eat well. Eat things like salads, cut veggies with dips, or cold soups that you can prepare in advance. Having things on hand will help.

Put Handicap Placards to Good Use: You know, the little handicap placard that hangs from your mirror, or you can get it put on your license plates depending on what country you live in. If you can, procure one to avoid time outside being exposed to excessive heat.

For me a simple shopping trip with my two kids on my hips while trying to walk the length of a football field and push a shopping cart is too much to deal with in the summer. In fact, I am spent before I even get to the task! So years ago I took a wise friend’s suggestion, caved and got one. Something in me thought getting a placard was admitting defeat. That is stinkin’ thinkin’. Getting a handicapped placard is smart and adapting. And it’s energy saved for the ones I love!

Organise Your Schedule: Tackle the most physical aspects of your day when it is coolest outside. I typically run around doing chores early in the day when the weather is the coolest! I find that helps my mind. Moving on with your day, knowing you got the hardest parts out of the way, makes for a happier day!

Wear the Right Gear: Giant floppy hats are one of my most coveted, can’t-live-without items for the summer. The cool thing about this? Big-rimmed, floppy hats are fashionable too! Some of my hats have the tops cut out, making them more of a ring around my head, giving me some added natural Vitamin D while preventing my head from getting too hot. Additionally, there are cooling vests and scarves you can have ready before you go out. Before I spend time outside gardening, I often soak a scarf in cool water and wear it around my neck. Others swear by simply spraying a cold water mist on their wrists. Remember, gear doesn’t just have to be something you wear—I have a kiddie pool in the back yard. And yes, it is for me, not the kids!

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