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Will Seasonal Allergies Make My MS Worse?

By Daryl H. Bryant (426 words)
Posted in Living with MS on April 13, 2015

There are (1) comments permalink

Will Seasonal Allergies Make My MS Worse?

Spring has sprung, and for many, that means itchy noses and watery eyes. If you are one of the many people that experience allergic reactions to pollen, cedar, mold, and the like, you may be worried that these seasonal allergies could make your Multiple Sclerosis worse. You may even worry that over-the-counter allergy medications could trigger symptoms and cause you to end up feeling worse than you did before. Fortunately, your allergies will most likely have little to no effect on your MS symptoms, and managing both this spring will be much easier than you think.

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder. The disease causes your body’s immune system to attack its own central nervous system, resulting in an array of cognitive and physical symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Your allergies, on the other hand, are irritations of the sinuses that cause the immune system to overreact. This will manifest in the common symptoms you see, such as runny nose, constant sneezing, sore throat, and itchy, watery eyes. Although both your MS and allergy reactions are caused by your immune system, your allergies will not trigger symptoms because they have nothing to do with your central nervous system.

According to the National MS Society, there is no scientific or medical evidence that confirms seasonal allergies as a trigger or degenerative symptom. Frustrations are common when something like watery eyes further complicates existing physical symptoms, and allergy headaches can often make existing MS pain almost unbearable.

However, because allergic reactions to spring blooms is so commonplace, many people with MS must manage both their allergy symptoms and their MS symptoms at the same time. This can be done by taking over-the-counter allergy medication. Since seasonal allergies are typically easy to manage, many patients with MS conquer them first before moving on to their more debilitating symptoms.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, over-the-counter medication is safe to take, but if you require prescribed allergy medication, you must discuss your existing MS regimen with your doctor. Cortisol and other steroids typically prescribed to patients with severe seasonal allergies can sometimes complicate your MS by causing a reaction with the medication.

This can easily be avoided by telling your doctor what medications you are presently taking and asking if steroids will cause them to react differently. Your seasonal allergies will not make your MS worse, but it is up to you take responsibility of your existing routine to make sure subtle changes such as new medications do not disrupt an otherwise healthy regimen.

Comments (1)

Kate posted on: July 3, 2016

Absolutely wrong! As usual the "science" does not match the reality. Perhaps simply it is that the allergies are just another thing that the brain ( which is part of the nervous system) has to cope with, but many of us find spring allergies exsasberate our symptoms.

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