Holiday season can be a stressful time especially for those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Changes in schedule, travel, and demands of daily routines may add stress that can possibly cause the worsening of symptoms.
Below are some tips offered by health specialists that can help avoid possible disease flares and increase of symptoms.
Set Realistic Expectations
Help set realistic expectations during the merriment that can be easily managed. Avoid activities that are risky and be mindful to not do more activity than what you are normally accustomed to.
Communicate with Family and Friends
Communicate openly on how you are feeling to your friends and family. Some symptoms aren’t visible to them, so it is very important to let them know if you are not doing or feeling well. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Fatigue can be an impact for those with MS. Help to prioritize your activities during the holiday season. Set a reminder to take a nap or rest to recharge yourself.
Travel may cause disruption in your eating, medication, and sleeping schedules, so plan carefully. Both air and ground travel can also require special type of arrangements to be available, such as easy access to bathroom. Carry a doctor’s letter that shows your need to use injection medicine while traveling on a plane as the Transportation Security Agents (TSA) may require this confirmation.
Normal routine disruptions can be expected and may be troublesome for those with a neurological disorder. Consider the possible complications that can arise due to changes in sleeping and eating routines. Family and friends can help maintain lesser disruptions and stress by asking what normal eating and sleeping routines are and try to provide as close to that schedule as possible.
Holiday season can be, at times, an emotional time for everyone. Due to neurological issues, some MS patients may have emotional outbursts like sudden crying or laughing. Help educate family and friends what may be happening and that it is ok. It is important for them to feel comfortable and know that these emotional outbursts may be involuntary due to extreme reflexes experienced by the patient.
Know your physical limitations and be mindful to not overextend yourself. If you love to cook, but due to your condition are unable to stand steady by the stove or struggle with cutting food due to numbness of hands, then try to participate by reading out the recipe to a family member. If in a new environment, it is helpful for family members to remove clutter and other items that may disrupt movements.
Sensitivity to Temperatures
Temperature sensitivity is another common symptom for those battling MS. Friends and family can help to maintain the temperature of the home so it is not too warm nor too cold. Be sure to stay warm if travelling to a colder environment for the holidays.