Recognizing and Avoiding MS Triggers to Prevent Exacerbations
I remember the feeling of having a terrible cold or flu before I had multiple sclerosis (MS). The stuffy nose that made breathing nearly impossible. That elusive tickle in the back of my throat combined with a hacking cough.
Cold and flu season is a miserable time, and I never would have imagined it could become worse. But add MS in the mix and it becomes an entirely different ballgame.
I always know when I am getting an illness because my MS symptoms gradually become more intense. My already difficult walking becomes more labored and my legs seem heavier. The spasticity in my arms and legs elevates to a new height, and my brain fog gets even thicker.
Last week, I had a terrible cold, the kind where it’s hard to move or even get out of bed. It was an MS cold, and I felt its effects in every inch of my body. The cold virus sent my MS into a full-blown exacerbation. My body was fighting dual enemies — the MS and the virus — and I could feel every attack.
“What can I do to stop the triggers that bring me such pain?” That question sent me in search of answers. What I found were things to avoid and precautions to take — common sense antidotes that we probably all are aware of, yet occasionally need reminding of.
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