Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) means dealing with flares. Flares occur when symptoms worsen for at least 24 hours. To be considered a flare, it also must occur 30 days or more after the last attack.
We wondered what cues your body gives you about flares. We asked our community on Facebook, “How can you tell that you are experiencing an MS flare?” We got more than 250 responses, so it is clear that there are many ways flares affect you.
Part of living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is dealing with flares. A flare, also called a relapse, is when MS symptoms recur or worsen.1 The change in symptoms lasts for at least 24 hours, but often much longer.1 Flares throw a wrench into daily life and plans. They are challenging to manage. Curious about how you handle flares, we recently posed this prompt to our MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook community: “You feel a flare coming on. What is the first thing you do?”
For many individuals with MS, the summer can be a difficult time. The heat and humidity may cause MS symptoms to flare and become agitated because of heat affecting one’s body temperature. For some who experience a worsening of symptoms in warm environments, this may actually be an example of a pseudoexacerbation. A pseudoexacerbation is a temporary worsening of MS symptoms, without the presence of actual myelin damage or inflammation. Other than heat, individuals may experience this as a result of other illnesses or infection. It is important to take note and be aware of what symptoms you are experiencing, how long they occur, and your environment surroundings. If you find yourself heat-sensitive, try to avoid warmer settings. Stay in air conditioned places, do outdoor activities either early in the day or after sunset when the temperature is cooler, and wear lighter weight clothing when needed. If you have concerns about or are experiencing new symptoms it is important to be aware of your activity and surroundings, especially during these warm summer months!