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Viral Infection

by Amanda
(Tyler, TX)

Can a viral infection cause an MS flare up?

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May 13, 2011
Infections Can Cause Exacerbations
by: Akrista

Yes, Amanda. The short answer to your question is yes. From personal experience, I've watched my husband go through several types of infections, viral, sinus, UTI's, etc. Depending on how bad the infection was, his MS symptoms have gotten worse as a result of it.

Sometimes the flare-up or exacerbation is the result of a chain-reaction of events. He will develop an infection which results in a fever. The fever will lead to an overall feeling of weakness as well as sweating.

The bad feeling and sweating can lead to dehydration which leads to more weakness and disorientation. From experience, trying to re-hydrate someone who doesn't feel like doing anything is very difficult.

Trying to help someone move who cannot understand what you are talking about is even more difficult.

Now, when Cir senses an infection coming on, we not only call the doctor, but start an all out "offensive" to nip it in the bud. He starts drinking lots of water - not juice or soda - but water. He begins taking extra vitamin C, and cranberry extract if he thinks it's a UTI.

He tries to make sure he's not too stressed out and that he is getting enough rest. B vitamins also help in this area. Stress lowers your resistance and your body's ability to fight infections.

Viral infections don't really respond to antibiotics so your doctor won't (or shouldn't) prescribe these, but for a bacterial infection he may. Especially for Cir, when a UTI or very bad sinus infection is suspected, his doctor will prescribe one.

Infections are very bad for people with MS. Your body's immune system is already compromised, so if an infection catches hold, it can wreak havoc on your entire body.

While you can't keep from getting all infections, you can begin to do things that will help you to get less infections. And do them on a regular basis. Don't wait till you get an infection to begin a healthy regimen.

If you start out with a healthy body - even with MS - sickness, including infections won't be so devastating. Eat healthy, exercise as much as you can, stay hydrated, and supplement with vitamins if you are deficient in some areas.

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