Can a pseudo relapse last as long as 18 days?

Hello trusty forum folks, thought i’d ask your opinion as my GP quite openly admits she knows sweet FA about MS. Which is great! Had blurred vision with diplopia for 18 days now and thought it was a pseudo relapse for the first weeks as i had a cold and had been super active and may be pushing my luck a bit but 18 flippin’ days! Starting to get me down a bit or rather it is getting very annoying not being able to leave the house without walking into people and feeling sea sick. Have told my GP she can prescribe me steroids but don’t think i should take them until my cough has cleared up as i heard you are meant to be in full health to take the big whammy of steroids (i say i heard, the internet told me). How long can pseudo relapses last? Oh and diplopia is a recurring problem not a new thing.


Hi Kate,

I don’t know what the absolute upper limit is, but if it’s being caused by an infection, I suppose it could last as long as the infection does?

Hence if you are still coughing and not better, this underlying infection could be the cause of the other stuff as well.

Yes, it’s my understanding too that steroids have an immuno-suppressive effect (it’s how they work!), so you wouldn’t want to take them if there’s any suggestion you have an infection, as they could enable it to tighten its grip.

Also probably a good idea to get rid of the infection anyway, so you can be clear whether you are genuinely relapsing or not.

Is your doc treating the infection? I would think, if you haven’t got over a “cold” in 18 days, a secondary infection must have set in, and you probably need some antibiotics.


I have never ever got to the bottom of when is a relapse isn’t a relapse, so I can’t help, but just wanted to say I hope you get some advice from others who can. Do you have an MS nurse you can consult?



Thanks for the advice/support. Yeah i guess an 18 day cold is a bit long. Will try get some antibiotics. Plus i’ve got pain in my Kidney area so i may have a Kidney infection also. Fun fun fun! My MS nurse is always super busy and I try to call her only if it is something really serious otherwise she’d probably have taken out a restraining order on me by now.

The worst bit is i can’t see well enough to cross the road to avoid people i can’t be bothered talking to so i’ve had a day of awkward chatting and trying to fake being able to see. Eeh. Stopped telling folks about my MS when they all started thinking it meant i was mentally ill or going to die. I guess folks just think i’m drunk quite often which is fine by me. Really looking forward to having my eyes back: lot’s of good stuff on at the cinema!

Kate x

Hi and sorry to hear about the double vision. As a temporary fix for it you could try an eye patch on one eye.

As far as a pseudo relapse goes my understanding is that it will last for as long as what ever underlying trigger causing it lasts for. Your 18 day cold with ongoing cough does sound like you may have picked up a chest infection so definitely try for the antibiotics.

Also do get a wee test done in case of a UTI. And definitely don’t have steroids if you have any sort of an infection. It will only cause the infection to get worse.

My GP and neuro always get a full set of bloods and a wee test done when I present with a possibe relapse to rule out any other causes first. Only when I am cleared of any pseudo relapse causes am I offered steroids.

Hope you feel better soon,


Thanks Belinda. Sounds like you have some great doctors around you. Mine just shrug their shoulders and off i trot to check the internet for some answers. Got an appointment for tomorrow so will ask/demand the full compliment of tests!


Hi Kate, Im sorry to hear youve had this awful feeling for so long now…especially if it causes you to have to stay in…cabin fever…I get that when the bad weather keeps me in.

an I ask what a pseudo relapse is, please? I know pseudo usually means something which isnt the real thing. I dont have RRMS, so i can only imagine how awful it must be.

Look after yourself and let`s hope you ger relief soon.

luv Pollx

Hi Poll,

A pseudo relapse is a flare up of old symptoms brought on by infection, heat or over doing things. It isn’t a real relapse because it isn’t being caused by new inflammation or demyleination. The infection, heat or tiredness causes the busted nerves to misfire even worse than usual, giving rise to symptoms. It will settle down again once the underlying cause has gone away.

Though having said that, sometimes a bad infection can actually cause a real relapse as well. But it is really important to rule out the underlying causes and treat any infections before starting steroids as the steroids will make any infection get a firmer grip because of its immune suppressing qualities.

Hope this helps clear it up.

B xx

Thankyou Belinda, that was very clearly explained. Awful business…with me having possible PPMS/HSP, I`ve never really understood about RRMS…horrible!

luv Pollx