Be Winter Ready

This year, we have some additional challenges over the winter months, so it’s especially important to be prepared.

MS can be exacerbated by temperature highs or lows so with frosty weather setting in, symptoms can present themselves. Here we outline some things that might be useful to know in the coming months.

Preparation is key

  • Have a supply of non perishable, easy-to-prepare foods such as tinned soup.
  • Keep extra supplies of essential medication.
  • Have a supply of batteries and alternative light sources such as torches handy. Keep them in a place that’s easy to hand and access if the lights go out!
  • Have a water container for drinking water.
  • Keep phones charged. It’s also a good idea to have local emergency numbers in your phone. Be sure to bring your phone with you if you are heading out and about.
  • Have to hand a list of phone numbers for family and friends which you can use if you need help.
  • Know your EIRCODE.

Falls prevention

  • Use a low energy light at night time.
  • Non-slip shower / bath mat’s can be very useful in preventing falls.
  • Make sure there are no trailing wires or cords where you walk.
  • Have furniture arranged so that you can move around easily and carefully.
  • Using non-slip tape or backing on rugs will help prevent a fall.
  • Wear well- fitted shoes with non-slip soles for icy conditions.
  • Installing hand rails can be very useful. These can be fitted in bathrooms to help prevent falls when getting in and out of the bath/shower. Handrails can be fitted two sides of steps or stairs.
  • If you have a ramp, be sure it is gritted for frosty weather.

If you do have a fall, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.

Keep warm (or cool down)

Ensure you have an adequate heating supply. Support is available through the Fuel Allowance for those eligible. Information on this support including eligibility criteria and an application form are available here: service/00aa38-fuel-allowance/

  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature is important. Wearing layers can help as the thermal insulation assists in keeping your core warm and if you begin to feel overheated you can peel back a layer or two. Hot drinks can be useful in keeping you warm from the inside, quickly warming your core.
  • It is important to keep your hands and feet warm. Some people living with MS have sensory issues or another condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the extremities including fingers and toes are affected by the cold.
  • Some people can experience the onset or worsening of spasticity or stiffness as a result of the cold. If this happens, it is worth discussing with your healthcare team as there are some interventions available to help treat this or there may be actions you can take at home including stretching exercises.

Think of your aids and devices

  • Ensure your mobility device can grip an icy surface.
  • Make sure your ramp is well gritted in icy weather.
  • Ensure that you have access to a power supply if you use medical equipment or powered mobility devices on a daily basis.

Useful Contacts

MS Ireland

MS Ireland Community Workers are available to provide information and support. Contact details for the MS Ireland Community Worker in your area can be found here: regional-services

The MS Information Line can be contacted Monday to Friday on 1850 233 233

HSE Map Centre

You can use this facility to locate health services in your area. Just enter your address and choose an option to nd your nearest hospital, pharmacy, doctor, Garda station, nursing home or dentist. Directions are provided from your home to the required service.

This can be found here: services/maps/

Emergency Services

If you have an emergency please phone the emergency services at
112 or 999.

In the event of any emergency on water, including offshore, along the coastline, on inland waterways, lakes or rivers call 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Remember to have phone numbers for your doctor, chemist, children’s schools, local authority, Garda station, service providers and family members conveniently to hand so that you can locate them easily should an emergency arise.


ESB Networks LoCall 1850 372 999
Gas Networks Ireland LoCall 1850 20 50 50 Irish Water LoCall 1890 278 278

Further Information:

The HSE has published ‘Keep Well and Warm’ – a booklet with information and advice on staying well this winter. This can be found here: eng/services/publications/olderpeople/ wellandwarm.pdf

MS Ireland Community Workers are available to provide information and support. Contact details for the MS Ireland Community Worker in your area can be found here: regional-services