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4 Tips for Managing an MS Relapse

By Daryl H. Bryant (648 words)
Posted in Living with MS on April 13, 2016

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4 Tips for Managing an MS Relapse

Uncertainty. It’s one of the scariest things about living with MS. You never know when a flare-up or relapse is going to happen. An MS relapse is when new symptoms appear or current symptoms worsen, and they can last anywhere from 24 hours to weeks or even months. When a relapse occurs, it can leave you scrambling for answers.

Life doesn’t stop for an MS relapse. Read on for 5 tips for managing an MS relapse so you can keep living even in the midst of a flare-up.

Ask for Accommodations at Work

Your employer cannot discriminate against you for having MS. You are entitled to reasonable accommodations, especially during an MS relapse. Your best bet is to talk to your employer ahead of time so that you can come up with a plan for when a flare-up occurs.

Many employers are willing to let you have flexible work hours, take time off, or have longer breaks during a relapse. You may even be able to work from home. Other common accommodations for MS include: wheelchair access, moving workstation closer to the restroom, written instructions when possible, and task lighting in the office.

In order to get accommodations at work, you will need to prove that you have a disability which may include disclosing that you specifically have MS. However, you are entitled to privacy, and your employer is not allowed to share your health information with anyone without your consent.

Make Accommodations at Home

The more planning you do in advance, the less stressful an MS relapse will be. Make sure your mattress is at a good height for you to easily get in and out of with minimal effort.

Put slip-resistant mats in your bathtub or shower. Anything you need on a daily basis should be accessible without bending over or reaching up. Move your toiletries around in the bathroom to make sure that the things you use every day are in the most accessible places. Do the same thing in the kitchen.

It may look out of place to leave a pot on the counter or stove at all times, but it is much better than reaching overhead to grab one off of your pot rack when you are feeling terrible.

Have a Backup Bedroom

If your bedroom is upstairs, consider moving it to the main floor or having a backup bedroom for your worst flare-ups. You will need a comfortable place to sleep, a few outfits, and anything else that you typically need at night (phone charger, body pillow you can’t sleep without, etc.).

If you have a guest bedroom, this will be simple, but if you don’t, you may need to get creative. Perhaps you can add a daybed to your office or even sleep in the living room. If your living room is going to double as your backup bedroom, make sure that your couch is comfortable. If it isn’t, you may need to invest in a new couch that will fit your daily needs and double as a comfortable bed during your worst flare-ups.

Rally Your Support Network

During a flare, you may not be able to drive or do other things you would normally do. Ask a few close friends and/or family members if they would be willing to be your go-to flare support team. Knowing you have people you can call to get you to important doctor’s appointments or if you need help at home is crucial for peace of mind. You may not need them at all, even during your worst flare-up - but knowing you can call them will make you feel better.

Life keeps moving during your MS relapse; these tips should help you keep up. What is your best tip for managing an MS relapse? Share in the comments below.

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