What Are the Best Cooling Vests for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

A question I'm often asked is, “What Are the Best Cooling Vests for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?” I've scouted quite a few and found the one. My favorite cooling vest for MS isn't too bulky or heavy, has a nice sleek design, and is easy on the eyes.

Why Do People with MS Need to Stay Cool?

Did you know excessive heat can cause a Multiple Sclerosis flare? That makes living with MS during hot summer days a conundrum for me. Why? Because the treatment program I’ve created entails walking a couple of miles everyday to help my body stay limber and keep my detox pathways open.

Is Heat Bad for MS?

I've found it's not common knowledge that heat can exacerbate Multiple Sclerosis. That's because the majority of patients haven't been educated about this issue by their neurologists. According to the National MS Society:

Many people with MS experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms when the weather is very hot or humid, or when they run a fever. These temporary changes can result from even a slight elevation in core body temperature (one-quarter to one-half of a degree). An elevated temperature further impairs the ability of a demyelinated nerve to conduct electrical impulses.

What is Uhthoff's Phenomenon?

According to Wikipedia, Uhthoff's phenomenom is the worsening of neurologic symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when the body gets overheated from hot weather, exercise, fever, or saunas and hot tubs.

Heat Triggers My MS Symptoms

I find my MS symptoms can be much worse when I'm overheated. From a biochemical perspective, it's thought that heat can raise inflammatory cytokine levels in those of us with Multiple Sclerosis.1 For me, that makes increasing my core thermal temperature a no-no. The solution? This super awesome cooling vest.

What Time of Day is Best to Exercise?

Before I landed on this Glacier Tek Cooling Vest I would limit my outdoor exercise time to the evenings during hot weather. I don't like to work out right when I wake up when it's cooler outside. That's because I find that going slow in the morning has been very restful and healing for my adrenals. This is important given that I have two autoimmune disorders in addition to Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1998, and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in 2005.

What Are the Best Cooling Vests for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

There are tons of cooling vests for MS that you can get information on from a good neurologist, or discover online. I found the cooling vests made by medical supply companies a bit frumpy looking, so I went the online route, bought the Glacier Tek Cooling Vest, and fell in love with it. It's sporty looking and at 5 pounds fairly lightweight. I chose white because it's a light color that reflects, rather than absorbs, heat, and I ended up in a size medium –the small did not fit in the bust.

What is a Cooling Vest for MS?

So, getting down to the nuts and bolts, you might be wondering, “what exactly is a cooling vest?” The Glacier Tek Cooling Vest is made of soft, lightweight, stretchable fabric, and comes with 12 non-toxic cooling packets that tuck into specially designed pockets. The vest comes in a nice mesh bag and I use that to store the entire gizmo in the bottom drawer of of my freezer. The cooling packets stay at around 60F° for over two hours.

What is Your Biggest Struggle with MS?

I'm so happy that I found this vest. It's literally been life changing for me, eliminating one of my biggest struggles with MS and I hope it helps you too. More important, I want to hear from all of you! What's your biggest struggle with MS? Leave a comment and let me know and I'll work to find solutions that help all of us.

I LOVE finding out about new products on your blog!

Comments

12 responses to “What Are the Best Cooling Vests for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?”

  1. My frienbd had pereidous which in english means itching of unknown cause. She has been to itch clinic in Florida supposedly the best. Takes diff meds and wears cold wraps. Do you think this vest would benefit her. The wraps seem to help but has to keep rotate them. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jean-Christy, thanks for your comment and question. I love my vest and use it for MS, not sure if it is recommended for other medical conditions and probably best to refer to the physician in this case.

  2. I live in Arizona, which some days can get up to 120°f like today. I try to stay inside on days like this but unfortunately I had to go to my neurologist appointment an hour and a half away. Do you know any websites or foundations that help provide free cooling vests or cooling items? Unfortunately I’m on disability and don’t have $100 right now to spend on a vest. I would greatly appreciate any information you have this matter.

    • Jessica, thanks for your comment! I believe local chapters of the National MS Society provide grants for these types of things :-)

  3. Not all of us with MS have even 50 to spare monthly let alone 300 for the vest .exactly what I have always wanted but unfortunately we will have to go without

    • Torena, thanks so much for your comment! The vest that I use and describe here is $220, I am going to look into more affordable options, and I also know that the MS Society makes lifestyle grants for items such as this for folks with MS. I hope you’ll stop back by and keep me posted on how you’re doing :-)

  4. I remember reading that you went on vacation/plane and when you returned home were worse. Did the plane ride make you worse. I fly 4.5 hrs to my daughters a couple times a year and sweat I feel worse after the trips. I’m not even walking well with my cane anymore. My neurologist says maybe I should see a rheumatologist, that she doesn’t need to see me for a year because I’m not on therapy/medication. I asked about cabin pressure on the plane and she didn’t think that caused a problem. I told her I didn’t want to take it anymore meds (shots since 2006) because I was having so much trouble with my hips and walking. My MRI came back stable so I haven’t been on meds since Feb 2017. I have been on several supplements after consulting a dr/functional Med dr. Not sure where to go now.
    Any suggestions on what has helped you or others would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Shirley

    • Shirley, thanks so much for sharing your experience here. It seems unfortunate that your doctor told you not to come back since you’re not on an MS DMT. However, this might be the best thing for that doctor since they may not have anything to offer outside the pharmaceutical box. In terms of flying, my primary care doctor told me that it can definitely be an MS stressor given lower oxygen levels in the plane, and increased radiation levels due to being at high altitude closer to the ozone layer. Given that MS is a disease of the nervous system and that flying is stressful, can also make this a trigger on the most basic level. Thanks again and I hope you’ll stop back by and keep me posted on how you’re doing :-)

  5. my biggest struggle with ‘MS’ is dealing with doctors whose knowledge of the condition comes from Doctor Google’s latest updates and who dismiss me as less mentally capable due to my heat intolerance, walking with a stick and their discriminationary attitude……second t that, the general public’s ignorance and those who have been taught by Dr. Google and the media that we MSers should always be doubted due to it apparently being a neurological illness which is totally incorrect. From there, the worst thing about it is heat intolerance.

    • Rachel, I totally get it! There are so many things we are dealing with in terms of the physical condition of MS and then dealing with poorly educated medical practitioners, as well as other folks can make it quite challenging :-)

  6. I LOVE finding out about new (to me) products, like this, on your blog! Thanks to you mentioning it recently, several in my family are now happily enjoying Moon Cheese. And the best thing I ever found out from you was Kavinace for sleep. It helps me more than any other sleep aid.

    Thank you very, very much for all of your good info. :)

    Amy

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