MS and flu

Happy Christmas Eve everyone. I was diagnosed with MS around 5 years ago but very fortunate that its benign partly because I’m over 65. HOWEVER, I now have elephant flu (bigger than man flu) for the first time in over twenty years and it is affecting me. Can hardly lift my left leg and numb in left hand. I’ve read about it and it seems to be common. Not very nice and I’m determined to overcome it with vitamin rich fruit and some exercise. I just wanted to sympathise with anyone else feeling the same way. I hope everyone has a good day tomorrow.

Yes, it is common, I think. The temporary worsening certainly happens to me when I am unwell, particularly with a temperature.

I hope you feel better very soon.



i hope you manage to enjoy christmas especially a tipple or three.

if not have a mega blast on new years eve with a shed load of tipples!

carole x

why is it benign because you are over 65? Just curious. Sorry you have flu but any rise in temperature can exacerbate your MS sysmptoms but they go away as you cool down. Drink cold water it helps to cool your internal core apparently and helps with the symptoms of MS and heat. I am over 65 and was diagnosed in 2016 with PPMS. Hope you feel better soon flu is bad even without MS. xxx

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MS is a curious thing and seems to hit people in different ways. My one and only attack 5 years ago was probably triggered by work stress and in particular, a row with BT. Fortunately most of my symptoms went within a few weeks and largely haven’t reappeared. I do have a yearly meeting with my MS nurse at Canterbury Hospital and she reckons that if a first attack appears later in life than it is less likely to happen again and that the MS can be benign. So far so good but I do take defensive action to understand and beat it. For me it’s all about the nerve centres at the top of my back so I do everyday exercises to to help keep that part moving and straight. I do many other everyday things that also seem to work and I found recently that painting a ceiling is excellent therapy. My partner bought a house recently and I painted five of her ceilings in a short space of time. I never felt better!

If I do feel symptoms coming on I also tell myself reroute the nerve signals. It works for me. For a long time I thought it was just me being over positive but then I read in the MS Society magazine that it is possible to do that. Like diverting round a traffic problem.

I agree with you about heat and drinking cold water but it’s Christmas. I much prefer a pint of room temperature real ale!

I had a good Christmas and although I still felt poorly with the flu it didn’t stop me doing anything. Two weeks on I was starting to feel 98% better - until I went to the dentist yesterday. I had 3 injections ready for a crown and I’m used to that but in the afternoon, what felt like the flu came right back and again this afternoon.

It sounds silly but my thoughts are that my immune system recognised the anaesthetic as alien and started to attack. Again, it’s affected my balance and left foot.

Does anyone know if there have been studies to ascertain whether our damaged immune systems can react to things like anaesthetics as well as flu viruses?

For the last week I have had a cold. Nothing major, nothing serious and certainly not a bad cold. I normally get something like this once about a year. What the cold has done, as it usually does, is absolutely knock the MS completely all to hell.

I feel absolutely awful and I’ve managed to do next to nothing all week. I know though that in a couple of days that I’ll hopefully be back to normal for me.


I am 66 and have only recently been dx’d with PMS, and I’m guessing that an additional P will follow in time. And my symptoms are worse now than when I saw my neuro. I have had a ‘bad leg’ for around 12 years, and now the other one is catching up, along with my hips and lower back… Errr, nothing seems to be ‘benign’… Anne

I always have a flu jab about September / October, and thereinafter only have a few sneezes, and that’s probably irritation of my hayfever allergy to house dust… LOL Anne

Its not silly at all.when i had the flu 6 weeks later i had a massive relapse.Also i react very badly to local anaesthetics so much so that i have to have the adrenaline free locals at the dentist,not all dentists do the adrenaline free injections though so you do have to ask,my old dentist did not believe in them and when he gave me the injection with the adrenaline in that afternoon i fell very ill,needless to say i found a dentist who listened to me and i dont have a problem with the injection now.

Most of my really bad relapses have been 6 weeks after an infection,at the time i am fighting the infection my MS behaves itself and my MS symptoms quieten down a lot but i think my immune systesm goes into overdrive 6 weeks later and all hell breaks loose.I was same when i was pregnant too and 6 weeks after giving birth i had a very bad relapse.

I had the flu jab back in September which was earlier than other years. I thought I was being clever by having the jab earlier as thought it would build my immunity. Wrong!!! This year is the first year I have ever had a cold/ flue like it. I got a sore throat on Christmas Eve and then started to feel cold and have sleep sweats. I have had dizzy spells and still I am unable to clear the crap from my chest. I have not eaten properly since before Christmas and have felt generally crap since. I was hoping that things were improving yesterday but alas no, I am now back in bed shivering. Those bloody Aussie’s not only have given us a walloping in the cricket but also seem to be able to concoct a good strain of the flu.

That’s very interesting MrsJ. For me there has definitely been a connection between flu and a minor relapse and again after the dentist. I had another crown done at the dentist last year though and never reacted at all. I guess we are all different but for me there is link not only with the flu virus but also the anaesthetic or a combination. I will certainly ask for an adrenalin free jab next time. Thank you Does anyone know who I can contact regarding official studies that have been done regarding the link between virus infection/adrenalin and a relapse? I think there is something important here to help our understanding of MS

Just a word of warning about the adrenaline free injection,they sometimes do not work at numbling you very well.For some reason they seem to work better at the back of the mouth.I manage small fillings with no numbing at all,i always have.

I had the flu once, it came back in waves for a few weeks. The day I got up, I couldn’t believe I was still alive. I drove to a tattoo parlour and had a rose tattooed on my back to remind me every day that I survived it. Even on my worst days now, I have that to think I am still here!

Presently in bed, recovering each day from a chest infection that hurt like heck over Christmas. Today I have had to pop to the shop as a person cannot live on lucozade and custard alone and I feel like I have just been up Everest.

For me, if I am more or less laid-up for two weeks, some of my every day symptoms go away a bit like the spine pain, the tremble, co-ordination problems. So I think that although I feel very ill and my chest still hurts, the lying down and complete physical rest (apart from the 24 hour coughing) does me good. Now from experience, I know that the next few weeks I should feel better every day but if I try to do anything normal, I will just end up taking steps backwards. Yesterday I went in the garden after having a shower. I then had to go to bed from 6 pm to 9 this morning.

Go steady, great respect for chest infections and flu, if they come to get you, sometimes you just have to give in. I plan in December the ‘what if I get ill’ thing, so I get a delivery of lots of tins of custard, long life milk, tea bags, calpol (top up), tin veg and some ready over meals plus loads of loo roll. This is my stock for if I get anything and can’t go out. Good job I did really, down to my last tin of custard yesterday.

I have also found that after something like this, I may get a new symptom or exacerbation of one I already have i.e. last year I had a virus, when I got better, I couldn’t remember things properly for about three weeks. Not even why I was outside. Quite dangerous for me and everyone else, so I had to put everything on hold, rest and then at some point I was as clear as a bell.

ps I get a bit confused about flu injections, if they give you one, what happens if they have given you ‘Chinese’ flu injection and you get ‘Australian’ flu?

Hi Anne, that’s curious isn’t it? I too have the flu jab and it doesn’t affect me so I’m curious to understand how a real flu virus or a dental anaesthetic can upset things. If my immune system is daft enough to make things worse after a dentist jab then why not after a flu jab unless it’s because the dentist session was just after my real flu and it was confused. There has to be a relationship to explore and explain as to when my immune system is triggered to hit the wrong target of not just the intended target.

Five years ago when I was diagnosed they gave me a strong dose of steroids. That was awful and felt like having a hangover and flu at time time. I stopped them immediately and on the advice of my trusted GP just took a few paracetamol until the symptoms disappeared within a few days. Thinking back I wonder if it’s possible again that my immune system got confused and angry.

I’m going to take it further and do a bit more research. Maybe the moderator who reads these posts can point me as to who to contact or alternatively I’ll ask my local branch member on Thursday.

I’m sorry to hear about your own diagnosis Anne. I didn’t mean to be flippant when I said I had been told that mine was hopefully benign partly because it appeared at over 60. I do tend to be too positive sometimes which can be irritating. In the years before wife died of cancer two years ago I contributed to a MacMillan forum for carers and had to be equally careful there. I’m sorry if I forgot the lesson. Keith

Flu vaccines are always a season or two behind as they never know what will invade us next. But, I’m guessing that they are all similar in some respects, so better to knock out some of it than none of it…


I was planning to go to my local branch MS Society coffee morning in Ashford, Kent this morning to ask if they know who I should contact re scientific research into the link between virus’s and a mini attack - but it’s raining so I will make a batch of Morroccan lamb tagine complete with honey, apricots and prunes instead. Anyone fancy dinner tonight?

WOW… So talented…!!! But I’m vegetarian…

However, I have a link to a website, not always MS, that I look at regularly…

This article is entitled: Taurine Lends Hand to Repair Cells Damaged in Multiple Sclerosis.

Perhaps you could search the website for ‘virus’, or, better still, ask them (the website people) if anyone is doing / has considered doing research into viruses…

‘Researchgate’ is another exciting place, but you need to be a member of some academic body or other, to get more access than just the abstract. Oh, that was when I was researching Orthopaedics… I wonder whether we could access the site by using the MS Society as our ‘interested body’… I forget the correct terminology…???

I’ll check it later.


Not talented at all. Until 5 years ago I could barely cook beans on toast but now that I have more time and the necessity to cook I’ve become more interested in it, especially flavours. It’s a pity that you’re vegetarian as the very interesting article says that Taurine is found naturally in fish and meat! Its also available as a supplement though. I had never heard of it before and the article does say that it could be effective when used with MS treatments. I don’t take any treatments as luckily, I don’t think I need them. My son was also diagnosed with MS some years back and did take treatment for a while but hated the side effects. His MS also seems to be benign for moment. He is 49 and has a doctorate in chemistry researching compounds for the pharmaceutical industry in Spain but he’s never turned much attention to MS that I know of. I suppose that sounds odd. I will ask the website if they know of any research into links between virus’s and MS problems. Right now I’m Ok and the flu virus seems to be gone for the moment.

If Taurine is a natural product that we all have and is also found in meat and fish I wonder if a Taurine supplement would help guard against an attack or at least help repair cells more quickly. A bit unlikely I suppose and maybe for the moment I’ll just eat more oily fish and enjoy it! Now, where’s my fish and seafood recipe book? Kx

Hello Keith,

I’m sorry for not replying sooner but I missed the email.

I need to read the article again to remember the details but, as I read your reply, I’m thinking that Taurine cannot be too exciting, otherwise there should be significantly more vegetarians with MS… has anyone looked at something so simple…??? but then maybe there are additional factors involved. I have been taking Cod Liver Oil (non-vegetarian) capsules most of my adult life and, apparently have good joints for my age. It’s the bits in between them that have problems.

I’ve read somewhere that MS is less prominent nearer the equator… so perhaps your son is doing well in Spain because of his location. And it’s sunnier than the UK, extra Vitamin D… but that it strange, too, because native people nearer the equator tend to have darker skin which would be a barrier to Vitamin D production, but perhaps allowing just enough…

I can’t remember where I got to on this forum with regard to my diagnosis. I have recently posted an update because my neuros aren’t sure whether it is MS or not… or perhaps both… They are talking about, well, writing about as I haven’t had another consultation, Confluent Changes in white matter, however, Periventricular Lesions, Juxtacortical Lesions, and a subtle Spinal Lesion… so I googled these words and found the following table…

I found an interesting article, too, on Juxtacortical Lesions at junction between white and grey matter, which suggests MS…

I shouldn’t do all this reading… too stressful…!!!

Anyway, enjoy your fish, and I shall relish the taste of my jacket potato with cheese and some sort of variation…