MS can affect different areas of your life
and may change how you do various activities. If you sometimes
feel overwhelmed with how MS is affecting your life –
or are considering giving up an activity that you love to do
– these tips may stir your own imagination to find new
approaches to living with MS.
The following links will take you to some
solutions and tips that people have used to help them cope with
the challenges of day-to-day living with MS:
» Camp for Children and Teens with MS
» 10 Tips to beat the
» Eating well for
healthy living - Examining the role of supplements
» Safety around the home
» Summer heat: How to find relief
Summer is a mixed blessing for people with MS. While it is
great to be rid of endless rain and snow, summer also means
heat, and that can make MS symptoms worse for may who have
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to stay cool.
Air conditioning at home may be the best answer. The cost
of air conditioning became a medical expense for Income Tax
purposes in 1995. Following a favourable judgement in a court
case supported by the MS Society, the federal government made
air conditioning tax deductible if prescribed by a physician.
You can claim 50% of the cost, up to $1,000.
Some divisions and local chapters can help with the cost of
air conditioners through special assistance programs. Contact
your division office at 1 800 268-7582 to find out if help
Sometimes simple things can help such as:
Dress lightly, eat cool foods and drink cool fluids.
If an air conditioner isn't available, use a fan. A fan
near an open window away from the sun will help in circulating
Cool baths or showers are refreshing; be sure hand rails
and other supports are installed in the tub for safety.
Try "cool clothing" -- these are products such
as scarves, hats and vests that contain substances that can
hold either cold or heat depending upon your need. Various
kinds are available at pharmacies or at some department stores.
Do your exercise in the pool (make sure it's not overly
heated) so you can stay both fit and cool.
(Adapted from MS Canada, August 1999)
» Tax tips: Medical expense tax credit for procedures and services received outside of Canada
» Travel tips
Be prepared for increased security when flying
The summer months often mean travel
time at home or abroad. If you are flying, make sure you
follow the motto "be
prepared" before you head for the airport because of increased
If you will be travelling with injectible medications within
Canada you should have a letter from your doctor describing
the medications and medical devices that you require. It is
also a good idea to keep all medications in their original
packaging showing the prescription label.
The bag you use for medical supplies or assistive devices
usually is not counted in the limit of one carry-on bag and
one personal bag (purse or briefcase). It is a good idea to
clarify the policy of the airline you are using at the time
you book your ticket.
Requirements for the U.S. are more stringent. Doctors' letters
and written prescriptions are not accepted because of forgery
concerns. Instead, all medications must be in their original
packaging with a professional, pharmaceutical pre-printed label
that clearly identifies the medication.
In addition, when you book your flight, make the airline aware
of devices you use (leg braces, walker or wheelchair) or assistance
that you will need to board and leave the plane and during
You should expect to be screened carefully, possibly with
the use of a hand-held medical detector, especially if you
use a wheelchair and can't stand up. Assistive devices that
you need on board will also be examined.
With a little preparation, you should have a safe and enjoyable
flight. Bon voyage!
» Travel safety
Whether you're planning a trip, visiting family or taking
a walk around your neighbourhood, ensure your health is always
protected. According to health experts, the biggest threat
to health while travelling is not a rare disease from an exotic
destination, but a flare-up of an existing medical condition.
Before you leave, schedule a visit to your physician. Be
sure to obtain all the medical care, prescriptions and documentation
you need. If you are planning a trip to an exotic destination,
receive any necessary vaccinations.
Plan for enough medication to cover 1 week longer than
you expect to be gone.
Keep all medications in their original package.
Wear a MedicAlert (or similar) ID bracelet. During a medical
emergency, it is important that first responders and other
health professionals are alerted to any pre-existing conditions.
If you are unable to speak, a MedicAlert bracelet or necklet
can speak for you, notifying health care personnel or other
bystanders of your condition, and any medication you are
taking. One call to its 24-hour emergency hotline, available
worldwide in 140 languages, gives healthcare professionals
access to your medical profile and personal contacts.
Emergency Medical Information Services
Canadian MedicAlert Foundation
301 - 250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, Ontario M3C 3G8
800-668-1507 (toll free) www.medicalert.ca
UMED - Universal Medical History & Information
105 - 2200 Lakeshore Boulevard West
Toronto, Ontario M8V 1A4
(Adapted from Sharing, the official journal of Epilepsy Ontario
Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer 2000: www.epilepsyontario.org )
» Tips for family and friends
Multiple sclerosis affects not just the person
with MS but also family and friends. The MS Society of Canada
has resources to help families and loved ones understand what
MS is, how it affects the person with the disease, and how to
cope with the changes or pressures a chronic disease can have
on relationships. Visit our Support
& Services section for more information.